September 30th, 2013
08:46 AM ET

Are Duck Tours Safe?

Ever been on a duck tours? They're those sightseeing rides that start on land, then turn into boats as they venture into water before getting back on the road.

A number of safety accidents aboard the amphibious vehicles are pointing to an alarming trend, leading many to question their safety. In the latest incident on Sunday, people had to leap into the River Thames after the tour boat taking them around London caught fire near Parliament.

“Fortunately, rescue crews were on the scene in minutes and no one was seriously hurt,” reports Early Start Anchor John Berman.

But fatalities have occurred in the past. In 1999, tragedy struck in Hot Springs, Arkansas, when 13 people drowned aboard the sinking "Miss Majestic."

Safe Boating America’s Captain Richard Werner says “the commonality between the majority of these accidents with these duck boats have been mechanical failure.”

He advises tourists to do some research before making a decision on which tour operator to use, like checking a duck boat tour's safety record online, accident history reports as well as any maintenance complaints from previous customers.

“If you do get on the boat, make sure you have access to a properly sized life,” Berman adds. “And even if you’re not required put it on,  keep it within reach just in case.”

Follow along at CNN.com for details into Sunday's blaze.

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