Ten British tourists are reported to have been injured when thrown overboard in a boating accident in the sea off northern Norway.
Two boats were returning from a sightseeing trip when one hit a water fountain near the harbour in Harstad, at around 3pm local time yesterday.
Witnesses said that the rigid-inflatable boats, which carried 24 people between them, had been travelling at high speed.
The 10 Britons and the boat’s driver spent about 15 minutes in water of just 6C before they were rescued.
The driver of the rigid-inflatable boat is said to be in a critical but stable condition. Three of the Britons have moderate injuries and seven minor injuries, police said.
They were on a holiday booked through Inghams, Sky News reported. Nils Mehren, a journalist who saw the accident, said the impact had thrown them into the sea “like dolls”.
An Inghams spokesman said the tourists had been on a boat excursion as part of their ‘Arctic Fjord’ short break.
He told the BBC: “Following an incident as they came into harbour at the end of the sea safari (the cause of which remains unconfirmed at this time), the passengers, the boat pilot and our tour leader were all taken to hospital in Harstad for check-ups.
“Sadly it appears that the boat pilot has more serious injuries, and has been transferred to Tromso hospital. Six guests and our tour leader are reported to have minor injuries.
“Of these six, four guests and our tour leader are staying overnight in Harstad hospital on a precautionary basis.”
Gro Dagsvold, of local tourist organization Visit Harstad, said the tourists had arrived from London on Wednesday.
Harstad is in the far north of Norway, some 875 miles from the capital Oslo.
In an update last night, Inghams said: “Six guests and our tour leader are reported to have minor injuries.
“Of these six, four guests and our tour leader are staying overnight in Harstad hospital on a precautionary basis.
“Our tour leader is in situ with the guests, and their comfort and safety is our absolute priority at this time.
“Arrangements are currently under way to send additional senior staff to Harstad to support both our guests and tour leader, and both the local police and the British Consulate have been informed.”
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