American tourists among the dead in Mexico bus crash
The authorities investigate why the bus with Royal Caribbean cruise passengers around-Phil Keating reports from Miami.
Tuesday’s fatal bus crash in Mexico claimed the lives of 11 passengers of the cruise ship and a tour guide, sparking concerns for the safety of off-ship excursions.
The bus was reportedly carrying passengers from the two Royal Caribbean cruise liners, the Celebrity Equinox and the Serenade of the Seas — when it flipped on a two-lane highway, landing on its side.
In addition to the 12 fatalities, about 20 other passengers were injured.
The group was on the road to Chacchoben, about 110 miles south of Tulum to see the Mayan ruins as part of an off-ship excursion offered by the cruise company.
The passengers of the deadly bus crash in Mexico were on a tour to the Mayan ruins as part of a cruise-list excursion.
SPIRIT IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DRUNKEN BRAWL ON THE FLIGHT, JURY SAYS
According to John H. Hickey, a maritime lawyer who represented cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean for 17 years and is now for the crew and passengers against the cruise lines, these excursions are heavily promoted by the cruise companies as a safe and reliable tour options.
“Cruise lines will advertise on the websites and in the literature for travelers to choose for our excursion ‘partners’ because we go to the vet and they meet the highest safety standards in the industry,” Hickey told Fox News.
On the Celebrity Cruise website, for example, that they market the trips as an exclusive part of their cruise experience. “Ignite your sense of wonder, adventure and excitement with a Unique Celebrity Shore Excursions. We work together with local experts around the world to deliver intimate experiences that truly embody the spirit of modern luxury … each room is carefully designed and Unique Celebrity,” the site reads.
The tour passengers were on was offered by the cruise line website.
The cruise lines money of the tours in cooperation with the various local tour operators, and the passengers pay for these trips directly through the cruise line, either in advance or on board, according to Hickey. The whole process is coordinated by the cruise staff and passengers often will meet at a specific location on the board with the local guide before heading out for the tour.
However, when it comes to the actual screening process, says Hickey the people who are in charge with selecting the tours don’t really do a lot to check if they are safe. “Someone without the security or transport background makes the selection, and corresponds to the. There is no real control, even though they say that they are.”
“If the promise is that they meet the highest safety standards, they need to make sure that happens,” Hickey said.
When incidents happen, he said, the cruise lines claim that they are not responsible, because the tour operators are independent contractors.
While in the current cases being tried in the district court to determine whether cruise lines are in fact liable for these kinds of accidents, Hickey says that it is still up in the air, although he argues that there is evidence of the tours are agents of the cruise lines. “The cruise line controls many of the activities and has the ability to control what happens on these excursions,” Hickey said.
FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS
Hickey says that during this cruise line-approved excursions can be dangerous and has resulted in other deaths in the past, people are still always better to choose for them a different option on their own.
If someone from exploring independently and something happens, there will probably not be that someone can be held liable, ” he said. “It is better to choose for those who have been sanctioned by the cruise line, but cruise lines need to take responsibility if anything happens.”
A representative of Royal Caribbean has not responded to our request for comment.