A river ferry broke its moorings and floated down a south Devon river with nearly 40 people and 15 cars on board.
The alarm was raised just before midday on Sunday when the cable-led Higher Dartmouth Ferry broke free and floated towards the sea in gale-force winds.
The crew managed to secure the vessel to a mooring buoy on the River Dart.
Passengers were then taken by lifeboat and another ferry to a hotel onshore. The vehicles will be recovered from the vessel when the weather calms down.
The ferry runs on two thick steel guide cables and transports up to 15 cars and passengers between Kingswear and Dartmoor.
Coastguards at Brixham said the ferry broke free from its guide chains in bad weather with Force 7 to Force 9 winds, showers and sleet, and then began drifting along the River Dart out to sea.
Concerned members of the public called emergency services as the ferry drifted down the river with 34 people, plus two crew members, and 15 cars on board.
The ferry crew managed to secure the chain ferry to a mooring buoy between Dart Haven Marina and the Higher ferry slipway 100 yards off shore.
Passengers were then evacuated to the Dartmouth Haven Hotel and the Harbour Authority instructed them to leave their ignition keys in their cars.
A local ferry took 11 passengers to safety and the Torbay lifeboat took the remaining 23 people to shore.
A Brixham Coastguard spokesman said the ferry was securely moored and no longer drifting to sea.
He added: "They are going to investigate getting the cars off because these people will want to get their cars back and go home. No one wants to leave the scene without their cars."
He said the coastguard team were waiting for low tide when the cars would be transferred on to a smaller ferry, known as the Lower Ferry, and brought back to shore.