Seven members of Fleetwood Sea Cadets unit were aboard when a catamaran ferry crashed into the pier at Douglas in the Isle of Man, injuring five passengers.
The commanding officer of the Fleetwood unit, Lt Cdr Dennis Archbold, received a call from his wife Sheila to tell him about the incident, as she was onboard with six junior cadets in her role as a unit officer.
Fleetwood’s contingent, who were travelling to the Isle of Man for their Easter Camp event, were unhurt in the incident, which occurred at around last Wednesday.
The Manannan vessel hit Victoria Pier at about at around 10.40pm as it came in to dock.
The ferry had departed from Liverpool just after 7pm the same day.
Lt Cdr Archbold, 64, who lives on Mersey Road, Fleetwood, said: “My wife was in her role as an officer taking the Cadets across to camp.
“She phoned me after 11pm, while she was still aboard, to tell me there had been an incident.
“At first she thought the ferry had run aground but then she was told it had hit the pier.
“She was calm and her first concern was that the Cadets in her charge were safe.
“We had spoken a bit earlier and she had said there seemed to be a problem with the vessel’s thrusters.”
Mrs Archbold, 64, and the Cadets, aged between 10 and 11, were due to return home from the camp late last night.
The injured passengers were taken to hospital but were not seriously hurt.
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, which runs the ferry service, said early indications suggested a “systems control failure” led to the accident. Sailings between Douglas and Liverpool were disrupted and temporarily switched to Heysham.
Mark Woodward, chief executive of the Steam Packet Company, said the company wanted to apologise for any disruption caused to passengers and stated that safety was paramount to the company.
In the past there were sailings between Fleetwood and Douglas but the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company halted the trips as they were not deemed economically viable.