London

HMS Belfast: Two injured as gangway collapses

  • 29 November 2011
  • From the section London

Two men have been taken to hospital after a gangway leading to HMS Belfast on the River Thames collapsed.

The men suffered minor injuries in the lunchtime incident on the London attraction. Other people on the ship were evacuated by boat.

The former warship is permanently docked on the Thames.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) said it had been planning a training exercise on the ship on Tuesday afternoon but was instead involved with the rescue.

The two injured men were taken to St Thomas' Hospital in south London.

The brigade said 170 people had been evacuated from the vessel to London Bridge Pier.

About 90 of those were visiting the warship at the time of the incident, including up to 30 schoolchildren who were staying on board as part of an experience called Kip on a Ship.

Walkway 'sheared'

On Twitter, London Fire Brigade (LFB) said: "Ironically we were due to carry out a training exercise on HMS Belfast at 2pm today.

"Somehow don't think that will happen now," the brigade said.

LFB added: "The incident commander from the London Fire Brigade is Station Manager Lee Drawbridge, and no, we're not making that up."

HMS Belfast director Phil Reed said one of the three sections of the walkway had "sheared" away from the rest of it.

"The two contractors on the brow got the warning as things began to rattle and they ran off and sustained only minor injuries."

Mr Reed said work had been carried out on the walkway for the past seven weeks and it passed a safety test.

"It was quite safe for people to walk across," he said.

Those on board were evacuated within half an hour and the atmosphere was "calm", he added.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will now investigate what had caused the walkway to collapse but Mr Reed said he feared the attraction would miss out on "thousands of pounds" of revenue while it remained closed.

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