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Cruise passenger on a sinking tour boat recalls scary experience: “I was in shock’

A total of 10 passengers from the Celebrity Equinox (top) and Royal Caribbean International’s Navigator of the Seas needed to be rescued last Wednesday.

(Reuters)

A Royal Caribbean passenger on board the ill-fated tour ship that sank off the coast of Cozumel last week, said he was shocked at how quickly the ship sank.

“I have been diving for 12 years and never seen anything like that before,” Thiago Koga told The Miami Herald. “I was in shock.”

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Koga is one of the 10 Royal Caribbean cruise passengers needed to be rescued last Wednesday after their cruise list cruise went south near the Mexican island.

The passengers โ€” four of Royal Caribbean International’s Navigator of the Seas, and six from Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Equinox โ€” had booked the trip as part of a sponsored diving excursion during a stopover in Cozumel.

Their plans were shortly after the boat began to water is too short in the journey.

Members of the crew instructed all passengers to move to the bow of the ship and throwing their weight belts โ”€ which would have been used to prevent them under water while diving to the ocean to lighten the boat, Koga told the Herald.

The passengers were quickly forced to jump in the water, the boat continued to sink.

The Mexican Navy, along with a handful of other boats, and another boat from the same diving company, Sand Dollar Sports, responded to the scene, pulling out all the 10 passengers from the water, the Herald reported.

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Royal Caribbean said all passengers were returned to their respective ships on the same day, and that no one was seriously injured.

“On Wednesday, 3 January, six of our guests the Celebrity Equinox, and four of the Navigator of the Seas were on the “Certified Scuba Dive shore excursion in Cozumel, Mexico, when their boat began taking on water. All of the guests that we have saved back to their ships later the same day,” said Royal Caribbean in a statement to Fox News. “The cause of the incident is still under investigation.”

Today I have an excursion with @RoyalCaribbean for a dive trip to Cozumel. The boat sank ๐Ÿ˜ฑ and I lost everything (mobile phone, wallet, wet, passport, etc.). Waiting to see how they will reimburse me. In any event, not death, as the bus.

โ€” Thiago Koga (@thikoga) January 4, 2018

Royal Caribbean has also confirmed that the dive was indeed a sponsored shore excursion for the passengers of the Navigator of the Seas and the Equinox, both of which had sailed from Miami.

Koga also wrote on Twitter that he is grateful to have survived, in contrast to some of the bus passengers involved in fatal tour bus crash in Mexico on Dec. 19, which claimed the lives of 11 Royal Caribbean cruise passengers and the tour bus operator.

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Both incidents also draw attention to the safety of the cruise-sponsored excursions. In many cases, however, the cruise companies themselves are not liable for any accidents that occur on such trips, as the operators as independent contractors, maritime attorney John M. Hickey told Fox News.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. operates both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.

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