Stockport lawyer among 70 people rescued after Royal Iris ferry runs aground

Passengers leaving the Royal Iris
Passengers leaving the Royal Iris

A senior Stockport lawyer was among more than 70 people rescued from a passenger ferry when it ran aground on Sunday.

SAS Daniels’ senior partner Jonathan Whittaker was among 69 passengers plus crew taken off the Royal Iris at around 1.30pm yesterday near the Wirral.

Jonathan Whittaker
Jonathan Whittaker

The ferry was being used for the Manchester Ship Canal Cruise, and had travelled along the Mersey before it was due to join the canal at Eastham Lock.

The grounding caused a hole in the hull and the ship began to take on water, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) said.

There were no reports of any injuries but ambulance, fire and coastguard crews were at the scene.

The 69 passengers and five crew members were helped on to a dredger which was also used to pump water out of the ferry.

Mr Whittaker had been on the ferry with two friends and covered the incident live via his Twitter account.

Mr Whittaker told the Liverpool Echo: “As we arrived at Eastham we heard a grinding, scraping noise as though it had hit something underwater, which made us all look at each other.

“Then we had to wait for 20-30 minutes after they dropped the anchor while various people ran around talking into walkie-talkies.

“Eventually the captain came over and said we had struck something and were taking on water.

“So a passing dredger pulled up alongside for us to get off.

“It was completely covered in sludge, which had to be hosed off before they used a piece of wood for us to ‘walk the plank’ off the ferry.

“But there was no panic. Everybody was in good spirits and amused about it. In all honesty we weren’t too worried.

“There was no sign the boat was in real danger, and staff were extremely reassuring and professional.”

A hole formed in the hull of the Royal Iris after it ran aground and the ship took on water.

A dredger, Deo Gloria, assisted in pumping out water and took the evacuated passengers on board.

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