INVESTIGATIONS are continuing today to establish how the body of a woman became washed up in Southampton Water.

Mystery surrounds the events leading up to the moment when the body was found in Town Quay yesterday afternoon at 1pm.

Police were called after crew on the Red Jet made the grim discovery near to the terminal as it returned to Southampton from West Cowes.

Minutes later the woman’s body was lifted from the water.

At the time of going to press officers were working to identify the woman and contact her next of kin. Her death was not considered to be suspicious.

A police spokeswoman said: “At this stage she has not been identified and the cause of death has not been established. Our enquiries continue.”

Staff in the Town Quay offices were evacuated due to a fire alarm while the incident unfolded.

Simon Dale was watching the scene before he caught the ferry to Hythe.

“I was sat around the terminal when the fire alarm went off. We were outside and that’s when I saw the Red Jet lads.

“There were about 15 of us taking a look at what was happening. But then the police came over and asked us to move on saying it wasn’t the prettiest sight,” he said.

Another witness said he saw the crew holding the body in the water with boat hooks while a police boat was launched.

The woman’s body has now been taken to the mortuary at Southampton General and will be passed to the coroner.

Police said that early indications were that the discovery of the body is not thought to be part of any on-going missing person inquiry.

Murray Carter, Red Funnel’s operations director, said that passengers for the West Cowes ferry were delayed by only minutes due to the discovery.

The Red Jet and Red Funnel services were running as normal this afternoon despite the discovery of the body.