DOVER, England -- A hovercraft carrying 370 people across the English Channel crashed into a seawall in Dover Harbor Saturday, killing two people and injuring at least 50, officials said.
The hovercraft, the Princess Margaret, was arriving from Calais, France, when it entered the harbor in 'pretty bad' weather and, buffeted by winds of up to 30 knots, smashed into the seawall, coastguard officer Donald Burgess said.
The vehicle hovers at high speeds over the surface of the water.
Some passengers were thrown into the water from the impact and were plucked out by nearby boats, said Peter Yerberry, a spokesman for Hoverspeed, which operates the craft.
'The hovercraft is severely damaged on the right side,' Burgess said.
The passengers remaining on board were taken off the stricken craft by harbor tugs and the lifeboat, and several hours after the accident the Princess Margaret was still afloat and tied to the harbor wall, Burgess said.
Yerberry said at least two people were killed in the accident and a spokesman at Buckland Hospital in Dover said some 50 people had been brought into the emergency room with a 'mixture of injuries.'
Burgess speculated the hovercraft may have been blown into the wall by the high winds.
Passenger Michael Colgan said there was a 'very, very loud bang' and then he was thrown to the floor. Colgan said there was little panic on board and, with the hovercraft just floating, passengers waited quietly to be taken off.