Royals Stranded After Hovercraft Breaks Down On Brisbane River
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) _ The Duke and Duchess of York spent an unscheduled morning on the Brisbane River today when their hovercraft broke down enroute to the St. Helena convict settlement at Moreton Bay.
The couple was stranded and missed their appointment when the Mirage craft lost power in one engine near Pinkenba, about 3 miles from the river mouth.
British media representatives which had gathered for the photo opportunity fumed while the royal pair licked ice cream in a police car 10 miles away.
Later Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, stunned shop assistant Frances Jones when he walked into the Pinkenba Bait And Tackle store, to pay for the ice cream.
″I was stunned. I looked up and there was the duke walking in. And Fergie came in just behind. I knew who they were straight away from all the photographs,″ said Ms. Frances, 22.
″I was a bit flustered. You don’t get a duke in here every day. But I managed to work out the right change ... Andrew picked it up and put the money in his pocket.″
Shop owner Mark Heyer was away at the time. But he said later, ″I’m going to get two feet painted on the floor and put up a sign saying Fergie stood here.‴
The visit was not on the official schedule.
Later today, the royal couple braved sweltering heat for a ″meet the people walk″ and lunch at Brisbane City Hall. Afterward, they went on a tour of the Expo ’88 site, which closes at the end of this month.
The couple is visiting Australia for the bicentennial celebrations and is scheduled to depart Friday.