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London Duck Tour boat towed to safety after getting stuck in mud on River Thames

Published 22/07/2016

London Duck Tours take in the capital's sights by road and river
London Duck Tours take in the capital's sights by road and river

Passengers have been rescued from a London Duck Tour vehicle after it became stuck in the mud during a trip on the River Thames.

Emergency services were called to the scene by Albert Embankment, close to MI6's headquarters and Vauxhall Bridge, at around 2.30pm.

A spokeswoman for London Fire Brigade said their fire boat helped tow the duck to St George's Wharf Pier and that there were 28 passengers and two staff on board at the time.

She added: "The fire crew helped them all safely disembark - there were no reports of any injuries."

Managing director of London Duck Tours, John Bigos, confirmed one of his vehicles, which takes in the capital's sights by road and river, had become stuck in the mud.

He told the Press Association: "The facts are it got stuck in the mud - it is not the first time and it is possibly not the last time a duck will be stuck in the mud.

"In terms of dangers to passengers - it was absolutely none.

"We have a tractor that was held up on its way to help - as a result our captain rang the fire pier and asked if someone would be good enough to pull him back into the water.

"Because our tractor had not arrived, they gave us a tow out of the muddy Thames."

On the company's website, it states each yellow amphibious sightseeing vehicle has seats for 30 passengers and is "fitted with full safety equipment".

The police marine unit along with fire crews from Lambeth River, Lambeth, Clapham and Soho attended the incident, which was over by 3.23pm.

Tomas Ramirez, 44, who works near to the launch site, said: "It was going out of the river and it got stuck on the stones before it reached the concrete ramp.

"It couldn't keep going because it wasn't powerful enough to get over the stones but was too high to go back in the water."

He said that people on board were having a "good time" despite the drama, and within half an hour the fire brigade towed the boat back into the water.

In September 2013, 30 people were rescued from a London Duck Tour boat when flames ripped through the vessel on a stretch of water close to Lambeth Bridge.

Many of those on board jumped into the water as flames took hold and thick black smoke billowed from the amphibious vessel.

People were hauled to safety by crews on passing tour barges and there were no serious injuries.

The company has made various amendments to its fleet since the incident in the capital three years ago.

In June 2013, a Yellow Duckmarine vehicle sank in Salthouse Dock in Liverpool. Thirty-three people were rescued or swam to safety and a number were taken to hospital following the incident but were later discharged.

A few months before, the entire fleet was ordered out of the water after a bus, which was not carrying passengers, sank in the same dock.

The Yellow Duckmarine tours in Liverpool are no longer operating.

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From Belfast Telegraph