Late-night rescue for stranded Waverley passengers

Image caption,
The paddle steamer was badly damaged in Thursday's crash

More than 130 people were returned to the mainland on a late-night ferry after the Waverley's collision with Brodick Pier in Arran.

More than 200 passengers and 26 crew were onboard the paddle steamer when it crashed into the pier as it arrived at Brodick on Thursday evening.

The coastguard said 24 passengers were injured in the crash, with some airlifted to hospital on the mainland.

The boat's operators confirmed its sailing season is now over.

The Waverley set sail for the first time in two years less than a fortnight ago, an event which was itself delayed due to an "unexpected technical and administration issue".

The boat, described as the world's last seagoing paddle steamer, had been due to continue sailing until 12 September.

Waverley Excursion, the company that owns and operates the paddle steamer, said on its website: "[The] Waverley made heavy contact while berthing at Brodick Pier on Thursday 3rd September and will be unable to undertake any further sailings this season.

"An investigation into the incident is ongoing."

Image source, Jim Cumming
Image caption,
This was the scene on the boat moments after it struck the pier

Police, paramedics, coastguard and rescue helicopters were called to the pier when the alarm was raised at 17.15.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing people falling over when the boat struck the pier earlier in the day.

Rita McLeod, who was waiting to board the Waverley, said she saw people with head injuries, and heard of one who required an air ambulance.

"We were actually queued up waiting to get in when it crashed," she said.

"It came in bow first. It came in far too fast. We saw a lot of people falling and there were people taken away in ambulances.

"We saw a lot of people, pretty badly shaken, coming off."

Image source, Jim Cumming
Image caption,
The Caledonian Isles ferry was sent to pick up stranded passengers

Passengers who had been waiting to board the paddle steamer had feared that they might have to spend the night at the terminal.

But Calmac's Caledonian Isles ferry was sent to pick them up late on Thursday night following discussions between Transport Scotland and the Marine and Coastguard Agency

Robbie Drummond, managing director of CalMac, said: "We were more than happy to help return passengers to the mainland and worked closely with agencies including Waverley Excursions, who transported everyone onwards once they landed in Ardrossan."

He added: "I would like to extend my deep gratitude to the crew on the Caledonian Isles and at Brodick and Ardrossan"