Ten British tourists have been injured after being thrown into the sea off northern Norway in a boating accident.

Two boats were returning from a sightseeing trip when one hit a fountain near the harbour in Harstad, at around 3pm local time on Thursday.

Witnesses said that the 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.

Nils Mehren, a journalist who saw the accident, said the impact had thrown them into the sea like dolls.

Tone Didriksen from Harstad police said: There were two rigid-inflatable boats that were on a trip in the area surrounding Harstad. On their way back, one boat had an accident and crashed into a fountain placed in the harbour of Harstad, and several people ended in the sea.

All of the passengers have been brought to hospital for help and first aid. We will contact all of them later today to further investigate. We will also talk to the boat drivers and people who saw the incident.

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 UK travel firm Inghams.

The Foreign Office said it was in contact with the Norwegian authorities over the incident.

Harstad is in the far north of Norway, some 872 miles from the capital Oslo.

(c) Sky News 2017: Britons hurt after being thrown into sea in Norway boat crash