Huge search launched for missing ferry passenger seen ‘jumping’ overboard

A huge search has been launched for a missing ferry passenger seen "jumping" overboard near Portsmouth Harbour.

The alarm was raised at 10.50am today, a spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.

She described the operation to find the person as "extensive", with two lifeboats, a search and rescue helicopter, harbour patrol vessels and a Royal Navy vessel involved.

It is believed the missing passenger was a man but the gender of the person has not yet been confirmed.

HM Coastguard has also asked other vessels in the area to join the search.

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A spokesperson for Wightlink ferries said: "On the 10:30 St Cecilia car ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne a passenger was seen to jump overboard, just outside Portsmouth Harbour.

"The crew of St Cecilia deployed the ship’s rescue boat and the Coastguard is now the lead authority on this matter, with a number of vessels assisting in the search.

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"St Cecilia is still in the area of the incident while authorities are trying to recover the person, with customers on board."

A spokesperson for the UK coastguard added: "It’s currently ongoing. The police are involved. Several different vessels are involved. "

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