Wightlink ferry officer is praised after jumping into the water save a man who was spotted in icy waters in Portsmouth Harbour

A deck officer on a Wightlink ferry has been praised for rescuing a drowning man in freezing waters off Portsmouth.

Steve Chamberlain, deck officer on board the Wightlink St Clare ferry, jumped into the water on Saturday (3 February) just after 11pm, to save a man who was spotted in freezing waters in Portsmouth Harbour.

The Wightlink ferry was at its berth at the Gunwharf car ferry terminal and preparing to sail at midnight to Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight when crew members spotted the individual in the water.

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Initially staff tried to throw a life ring to the man but he could not reach it. Deck officer Chamberlain said he acted “instinctively” when he jumped into the water to save the man from drowning.

Fellow crew members Paul Cooke, Robbie Mihell and Chris Fremantle, on board the staff launch with its coxswain Peter Simmonds, also assisted with the recovery of the man.

When he was recovered from the water, the casualty was conscious but suffering from the effects of hypothermia and was taken to the pontoon in Broad Street, Old Portsmouth where paramedics and police were waiting to take him to Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Steve Chamberlain was also taken to hospital for a check-up and was released at 2am.

Steve Chamberlain on board the St Clare Wightlink ferry. Credit: Wightlink

Steve Chamberlain on board the St Clare Wightlink ferry. Credit: Wightlink

Steve lives in Portsmouth and has 20 years’ service with Wightlink and five years with the Royal Navy. He says: “I just acted instinctively when we saw the man wasn’t able to get into the life ring. We carry out emergency drills all the time but it’s different when it’s happening for real. Getting the man to safety was team work and I’m grateful to my fellow crew members for their support.”

Wightlink Operations Director Daryl Palmer adds: “We are very proud of Steve and his colleagues for acting so promptly. It was a cold winter’s night and I’m sure the man would have died from hypothermia if he had not been spotted by the crew and rescued by Steve.”