Tour boat catches fire on the Thames

Thirty people have been rescued from an amphibious tourist vessel that caught fire on the River Thames in London, forcing the terrified passengers to dive into the water to escape the flames.

Around 15 passengers, including children as young as six, were helped by passing tourist boats near the Houses of Parliament, the London Fire Brigade said on Sunday.

"They are shaken up, but not injured," a spokesman said.

A woman and a child were taken to hospital after inhaling smoke, as well as a man with a minor head injury.

The London Duck Tours amphibious vessel was badly damaged by the fire.

London Fire Brigade group manager Neil Withers said: "A number of people jumped into the water but they were soon rescued, and fortunately at this stage it doesn't look like anyone's been seriously injured."

An operating licence for similar amphibious vehicles in Liverpool, northwest England, was revoked last month after two vessels sank in the city's Albert Dock while carrying tourists.

A number of tourists were rescued during the sinkings in March and June.

Most of those on board were visitors to the UK, with many from Holland and others believed to have come from Sweden and Brazil.

- AFP

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