Thames Duck boat fire: Passengers jump overboard to escape blaze on London Duck Tours vessel

Latest blaze compounds safety fears over craft after two similar incidents earlier this year

Investigations are underway after sightseers in London had to be rescued from a blaze on an amphibious “duck” tour boat on the River Thames, in the third such emergency incident this year.

The fire, which broke out near the Houses of Parliament just before midday, resulted in 15 people reportedly jumping overboard from the London Duck Tours boat into the Thames, to escape the billowing smoke and flames.

Emergency services rushed to the scene and passengers were hauled to safety from the vessel by crews on passing tour barges. A woman and child were taken to hospital after it was suspected they inhaled smoke, as well as a man who suffered a minor head injury. Children as young as six had to be scooped from the water. The majority of those on board were tourists, and were warmed up after the incident with cups of tea at the riverside this afternoon.

The damaged tour vessel has since been pulled away and fire officials are investigating into how the fire, which engulfed 33 per cent of the boat, started. The Port of London Authority is also expected to investigate the blaze.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said all passengers and crew had been accounted for. But the incident compounds safety concerns over the use of amphibious buses used as tourist attractions following two major incidents earlier this year.

In June, 22 people were taken to hospital after the Yellow Duckmarine amphibious tour bus sunk in Liverpool. Another Yellow Duckmarine tour bus sank in the city dock in March. Nobody was injured in that incident.

But pressure has been mounting for a review of the safety of the craft, which are based on a design used to ferry troops onto the beaches during the D-Day landings. In July the Marine and Coastguard Agency grounded seven such boats for safety inspections, with calls being led by Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour's former shipping spokesman among other critics of the transport.

One of the fire service with a rescued child One of the fire service with a rescued child

London Duck Tours touts itself as the “antidote to the usual bus tours” and promises to offer families an “adventure on both road and river”. The vehicles are six wheel amphibious craft. A number of companies have since bought and refurbished the craft and in many cases painting them bright colours before using them to carry tourists on land and water.

Each seats 30 passengers, has a public address system and is said to be fitted with full safety equipment.

According to the company, each boat is modified to meet “stringent” safety regulations set by road and river authorities.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine