Investigation launched after 24 injured in Waverley crash

The damage to the bow of the boat can clearly be seen. Photo Colin Smeeton

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An investigation is under way after 24 people were injured when the Paddle Steamer Waverley, a regular visitor to Campbeltown, crashed into Brodick Pier on Arran.

Of those injured, at least six were airlifted off the island with other casualties taken to hospital on Arran with those described as ‘walking wounded’ treated at the scene.

The accident happened last Thursday, September 3, as the 70-year-old vessel tried to dock in Brodick after a trip round the island. Passengers said the boat appeared to be approaching the berth too fast and there was a heavy jolt when she struck the pier with the impact knocking people over.

Police, paramedics and coastguards rushed to the scene after the alarm was raised at around 5.15pm. They were joined by firefighters, the rescue helicopter from Prestwick, two Helimed helicopters and members of Arran Mountain Rescue Team.

The Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has launched an inquiry.

There were 213 passengers and 26 crew on board, with numbers much reduced as a result of coronavirus pandemic social distancing.

Passengers who had earlier got off at Brodick and were waiting on the quayside to return to Largs and Greenock were accommodated in the ferry terminal and 138 Waverley passengers finally left Arran on an emergency sailing of the MV Caledonian Isles at 10.35pm.

One passenger, who was at the front of the boat when it hit the pier, said passengers had ‘gone down like little dominoes’.

Professor Hazel Borland, nurse director at NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said last Friday: ‘A small number of patients were transferred to Arran War Memorial Hospital and University Hospital Crosshouse to receive treatment for a range of injuries with the majority now discharged.’

The Waverley had just returned to service two weeks ago after a major refit, but her limited season is now at an end.

Waverley Excursions Limited said in a statement: ‘Waverley made heavy contact while berthing at Brodick Pier on Thursday and will be unable to undertake any further sailings this season. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.’