Panic on the Rivers of London as Thames Duck Boat Goes up in Flames

By Gerald Lynch on at

If it's a toss up between braving London's crowded streets on foot or taking one of the capital's amphibious road-to-river tour trips, tourists would do well at the moment to pack some comfortable shoes. Or at least a fire-retardant wet suit.

28 unlucky passengers and two members of crew aboard one of London Duck Tours' amphibious vessels had to abandon ship on Sunday morning after the craft burst into flames. Though no-one was seriously injured, a lady and child were taken to hospital with suspected smoke inhalation, while others were said to be suffering from the effects of an unexpected plunge into the chilly depths of the Thames.

"London Duck Tours operates to the highest safety standards, and at this early stage it is not possible to speculate on the reason for the incident," said London Duck Tours on its website.

"Until the cause is established, the company will not be operating on the river and should technical or safety modifications be required to our fleet, these will be introduced prior to the service recommencing."

The nation's amphibious tour fleets are starting to get a bit of a sour reputation -- this is the third incident this year, following two other craft sinking back in March and June.

London Duck Tours' fleet will be sticking to the roads only for the foreseeable future, making the whole point of having amphibious vehicles more than a bit pointless. [YouTube via Sky News]