Update: Couple taken to hospital after boat explosion at Beccles Quay

A couple have been left devastated after jumping to safety as their boat burst into flames at Beccles Quay today.

Boat owner Tony Tibbitt, 76, and his wife Alison, 67, were in the 24ft boat at the time of the explosion, which happened just after 2.45pm off Gillingham Dam Road, near Bridge Street.

The couple, of Carlton Colville, had decided to take their boat 'Cleo' out for a short trip along the River Waveney, before enjoying a picnic.

Mr Tibitt said: 'We got about 50 yards from the boarding and there was an explosion. The engine had caught fire.

'My wife jumped out of the boat and a passer-by on another boat came to help. There wasn't even time to tie the boat up.

'I'm alright but my wife is fairly upset as we spent a lot of money getting it up to standard. It's an old boat.'

A crowd of over 50 people watched from the bridge and river bank as the flames reached over 10 meters (33ft) in height. Reports from on-lookers said the smoke could be seen over four miles away from the incident.

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Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service sent crews from Beccles and Lowestoft, who managed to control the blaze before the boat sank shortly after 3.30pm.

Two hose reels were used and a portable pump was placed into the river.

The East of England Ambulance service were called at 3.04pm and a rapid response vehicle arrive on scene at 3.11pm, followed by an ambulance. The couple were treated for minor burns and were transported to the James Padget University Hospital.

• See tomorrow's EDP for the full story.

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