BREAKING HAMPSHIRE ISLE OF WIGHT

Commandos have abseiled down ropes from a Chinook helicopter, landing on the deck of the Red Eagle in the middle of the Solent

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A military exercise, which appears to be simulating the hijacking of a cross-Solent ferry, is taking place with the help of Red Funnel today (Wednesday).

The Red Eagle car ferry has travelled down the Western Solent to play a vital role in the joint agency exercise between the military and civilian authorities.

Merlin and Chinook helicopters are circling overhead this lunchtime alongside fixed-wing aircraft from HM Coastguard and the Royal Air Force. Coastguard Rescue 175 helicopter from Lee-on-Solent has also been involved with the ‘incident’, with the National Police Air Service helicopter also present.

Sources involved in the operation have reveal commandos have abseiled down ropes from a Chinook helicopter, landing on the deck of the Red Eagle.

Today’s exercise comes less than 2 weeks after the Nave Andromeda incident off Ventnor, in which the Special Boat Service stormed the oil tanker after 7 stowaways became violent to the ship’s crew. Much like the real incident, a Chinook helicopter has left the SBS base in Poole and has travelled directly towards the ferry in the Solent.