Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Parasailing Accident Forces Cruise Lines to Cease Activity

A para-sailing accident on November 15 in the US Virgin Islands has forced several cruise-ship lines to stop offering para-sailing as a line-sponsored shore activity.

As a result, Carnival Cruise Lines has suspended para-sailing excursions only on St. Thomas, where the accident happened. Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and the Norwegian Cruise Line have also suspended para-sailing.

The para-sailing accident occurred when a mother and daughter, 60 and 34, respectively, were participating in a shore excursion while sailing on the Celebrity Eclipse, resulting in the death of the mother and injuries to the daughter, the latter of whom is recovering in a St. Thomas hospital.

The 2,800-passenger vessel departed Miami on November 12, for a seven-night sailing visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

COMMENT: According to USA TODAY, the St. Thomas para-sailing death is the third this year involving North American tourists. In June, a California newlywed was killed and her husband seriously injured off Grand Bahama Island, and a South Carolina resident died off Florida's Longboat Key after the tow boat's propeller failed and the parachute lost buoyancy, plunging him into the water.

Our readers are cautioned that while cruise-line-sponsored shore excursions are not without risks, they are generally far safer than those organized by a handful of passengers. At the same time, cruise-line passengers must realize that safety protocols employed by tour operators abroad are not always compatible those found in developed nations.

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