HMS Queen Elizabeth: More Than 200 Tonnes Of Water Leaks After Burst Pipe

HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain's biggest and most powerful warship ever built, has returned to Portsmouth early after a major leak on board.

A source has told Forces News that a high-pressure salt water pipe burst, letting more than 200 tonnes of water into the ship.

That caused flooding on several decks, which our source says put three people at risk of drowning.

All people on board the ship are safe but a mental health support team has been stood up.

The high-pressure burst is understood to have buckled a stairwell, bent some bulkheads and split some deck-plates on the carrier.

HMS Queen Elizabeth left Portsmouth Naval Base last month to embark on five weeks of sea trials.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) says the aircraft carrier was due to return for planned maintenance later this week but returned earlier as a "precautionary measure".

All water from the leak was pumped out of the ship.

HMS Queen Elizabeth with F-35B
HMS Queen Elizabeth was involved in flight trials with American F-35B jets last year (Picture: Crown Copyright).

In an initial statement released as the ship headed home yesterday, a spokesperson said there was a "minor issue with an internal system on HMS Queen Elizabeth, the ship's company were required to remove a small volume of water from the ship".

It is understood there was no damage or breach to the hull.

An investigation is underway.

The MOD has been asked for a further statement.

The aircraft carrier weighs 65,000 tonnes and has a top speed of 25 knots.

Its flight deck is 280 metres long and 70 metres wide - enough space for three football pitches.

Last year, she spent four months on America's east coast, where F-35s conducted more than 500 takeoffs and landings.

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