WIND was the reason passengers were alerted to “safety concerns” on board a ferry which crashed into a pier, bosses have said.

Hythe Ferry chiefs have told the Daily Echo the service was cancelled for two hours before Friday's crash due to high winds.

Operations manager Sath Naidoo has revealed that was the reason crew members told passengers they were having trouble docking.

It comes after the Uriah Heep crashed into Hythe Pier on Friday, leaving three crew members injured.

As reported, passengers said crew members warned them to expect a “hard landing” when they boarded the ferry on Friday evening.

Mr Naidoo said: “The skipper didn’t want to run the service while the winds were so high.

“We were in contact regularly. The water was very strong so we decided to look at it after peak time to see what it was like and whether it would be worth carrying on.

“We always try to run the service during peak times but at 6.30pm we decided to stop the service from the Uriah Heep ferry, there was no point beating up the boat in the strong water.”

He said that by 8.40pm the winds had calmed down enough to run the ferry again.

Mr Naidoo added: “The crew probably said about problems docking because of the weather.

"It can be quite a normal thing for us to cancel the service because of weather especially on the jet boat.

“We always try to explain to passengers why we have done something.

"I suppose high wind is a safety concern technically but we were monitoring it regularly and they had calmed down when we started the service again.”

Mr Naidoo said Uriah Heep was taken for repairs in Hamble yesterday and he could not comment on the incident further while an internal investigation was ongoing.

The front of the boat were wedged under the pier towards its tip in the crash and the wheelhouse and electrics were significantly damaged.

Police officers, ambulance workers, firefighters and the coastguard were called out to rescue passengers who were stranded on board after the incident around 9pm.

Hythe Ferry is running an internal investigation alongside the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, which could take up to six months.

Passengers Pete Thornton and Richard Church previously said the boat was travelling too quickly as it approached Hythe while Olivia Pearce said the crew were "absolutely amazing" but realised the incident could have been “a lot worse”.

The firm has chartered a boat from Blue Funnel for the rest of the week as its main vessel is being refitted.