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Woman dies in tragedy at the King Harry Ferry slipway

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: March 21, 2013

  • Woman dies in tragedy at the King Harry Ferry slipway

  • Matt Vernon who made repeated dives to attempt a rescue

  • Woman dies in tragedy at the King Harry Ferry slipway

  • Woman dies in tragedy at the King Harry Ferry slipway

  • Woman dies in tragedy at the King Harry Ferry slipway

  • Woman dies in tragedy at the King Harry Ferry slipway

  • Woman dies in tragedy at the King Harry Ferry slipway

  • Woman dies in tragedy at the King Harry Ferry slipway

  • Woman dies in tragedy at the King Harry Ferry slipway

  • Woman dies in tragedy at the King Harry Ferry slipway

  • Woman dies in tragedy at the King Harry Ferry slipway

  • Woman dies in tragedy at the King Harry Ferry slipway

  • Woman dies in tragedy at the King Harry Ferry slipway

Comments (7)

An elderly woman and her two dogs died yesterday afternoon after the car they were in plunged into the causeway at the King Harry Ferry slip.

The driver, her husband, was not in the car as it bumped against another car and then entered the water on the Roseland side at about 4pm.

The ferry was at the opposite side of the causeway at the time.

It is unknown whether the couple, both in their seventies, are local to Cornwall.

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Police, fire and coastguard were scrambled, aided by RNAS Culdrose and police divers.

Local mussel diver, Matt Vernon, carried out numerous attempts to rescue the woman.

He told the West Briton: "The car was at least 25ft underwater. It was impossible to try and smash a window.

"I got round to the front of the car and found the passenger window was wide open and the car was filled with water.

Diving without oxygen, Mr Vernon had to resurface to take a breath before going back down to the car.

He said the water was very murky and visibility extremely poor.

He attempted to attach a grappling hook to the car but it was not strong enough to take the weight.

Both Falmouth's All Weather and Inshore Lifeboats were on the scene by this time aiding the rescue attempt.

A line was eventually secured to the car by commercial divers who were brought to the scene by the MTS Valonia. The car was totally submerged for at least 30 minutes.

Shortly after 6pm the Fire Brigade managed to pull the car back onto the slipway and the body of the missing women was recovered from the car.

The channel, called the Carrick Roads, stretches from Falmouth to Truro and is famous for its size and depth.

It has the third largest natural harbour in the world at its mouth, and in parts depths reach up to 34 meters.

The King Harry Ferry released the following statement: "Our thoughts are with the friends and family of everyone involved in yesterday's tragedy. The ferry was not involved in the incident and our normal service has resumed."

The ferry connects St Mawes and the Roseland Peninsula with Feock, Truro and Falmouth and is one of only five chain ferries in England.

See a map of where the incident happened:

View Woman dies in tragedy at King Harry Ferry site in a larger map

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7 comments

  • liz1991  |  March 23 2013, 8:06AM

    Yes i agree with MaryAlice01.

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  • MaryAlice01  |  March 21 2013, 8:39PM

    I like the idea connonbridge has suggested. I think that something should be put up there that would prevent anything like this from ever happening again. I know it may be a bit of an inconvenience for some of the fishermen coming and going but the cost is nothing compared to saving lives. It is very steep there and even coming down the road to the ferry when the leaves have fallen and the roads are wet, can be pretty scary - quite a drop if you look over to your left so I would propose too that they look at putting up a better, stronger guard rail all the way down that one side of the road also. Sad that it takes such a tragedy to get people thinking about safety :(

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  • liz1991  |  March 21 2013, 7:08PM

    This is so sad and my thoughts are with her husband and family at this difficult time

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  • RobertJPowell  |  March 21 2013, 12:31PM

    This is tragic. A man has lost his wife and his 2 best friends in one tragic accident. My thoughts are with him and his family as they come to terms with this loss.

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  • connonbridge  |  March 21 2013, 12:00PM

    Couldn't they have a safety gate at the bottom of the slipway to prevent such another tradgedy when the ferry is not docked?

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  • MaryAlice01  |  March 21 2013, 11:01AM

    This is just too sad, so tragic ! One cannot even begin to comprehend what they must have gone through - our hearts go out to all the family members of the victims and our thanks to all those who worked so hard at the scene to try and rescue them, to Matt Vernon who to me was an absolute hero with his free diving efforts to try to retrieve them and bring them to safety. The shock of the evening I am sure will sink in long after the work finished, we are thinking of you all. I know that, like many I am sure the memory of this day will remain with me always & I will think of them and say a little prayer quietly, each time I cross the river on the KHF.

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  • hollyannereed  |  March 21 2013, 9:53AM

    Such a sad story to read in my local area ) :

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