Boat crashes minutes after police warned crew they were too drunk to drive

Three people were seriously hurt when their boat crashed into the harbour entrance at Cowes last night, Thursday 9 August. Minutes earlier the group were warned by Hampshire police not to set off because it appeared they had been drinking heavily and had no life jackets or lights.

The boat, with five people onboard, four men and one woman aged between 35 and 55, was trying to cross the Solent to return to Hayling Island when it hit the breakwater at speed. Three were taken to hospital, one suffering from spinal injuries and two others head injuries. The collision caused the forward sponsons to deflate and the console and steering wheel were badly damaged.

Coastguards were alerted by the crew of another boat, who had seen a badly damaged RHIB (Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat) attempting to berth on the Town Quay at West Cowes at about 2315 BST.

Nigel Guyll, Solent Coastguard watch manager, said the type of speedboat they were on is capable of speeds of up to 60mph. Cowes Harbour Authorities are investigating the incident.

More than 8,500 competitors in 1,000 boats from 14 different countries are taking part in Cowes Week on the Solent; tomorrow is the last day of the eight-day event.