Nine-day-old baby reported missing off Belfast ferry


THERE WERE fears for the life of a baby late last night after two people were seen falling from a Stena Line ferry as it headed to dock in Belfast yesterday evening.

A woman was rescued and taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital but as darkness fell there was no sign of the second person, understood to be a young baby.

The PSNI and Belfast Coastguard confirmed that a second person was reported missing.

The Irish Coast Guard, also involved in the search, said it had been reported to them that the missing person was nine days old.

The incident happened on the Stena Line ferry which was travelling from Scotland and making its way towards Belfast port at around 6pm. The Superfast VII ferry was travelling from Cairnryan.

The coastguard received an emergency call shortly after 6pm from the ferry reporting two people missing. Fifteen minutes later the woman was taken from the water.

PSNI officers were on board the ferry last night and the ferry terminal was closed.

Bangor and Donaghadee RNLI lifeboats, the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, a PSNI helicopter, fast rescue craft from two ferries, tugs and a pilot boat were all engaged in the search. Coastguard rescue teams from Bangor and Portmuck also searched the shore of Belfast Lough.

At around 9pm Ian Murdoch, the Belfast Coastguard watch manager, said: “We have been searching for the second missing person for over two hours but sadly we have not found any sign of them so far.”

A spokesman for the PSNI said it had been at the scene along with its partner agencies. “One person was rescued and taken to hospital for suspected hyperthermia. A search is ongoing for a second person,” the spokeswoman said, adding that anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact the PSNI.

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland ambulance service said they treated the woman taken from the water. “She had been in the water for a while so you can understand that with the coldness of the water she would have been hypothermic,” he said.