Holland America Lines Passenger Killed while Snorkeling in Belize

7 New Belize reports that a cruise passenger died yesterday while snorkeling in Belize's waters.  American tourist, Diana Mechling, age 59, was reportedly snorkeling at Goff's Caye in Belize when she was struck by the propeller of a catamaran.

The newspaper in Belize indicates that Ms. Mechling was treated at Belize Medical Associates where she died.  According to a representative of Holland America's agent in Belize, Cruise Solutions, the passenger was on a snorkel excursion tour when she was injured. 

Belize - Cruise Ship Paradise?Ms. Mechling was in Belize on Holland America Line's Ryndam cruise ship.  Cruise lines like HAL are legally responsible for investigating the excursion companies with which they do business and making certain that the tour companies have adequate safety rules and regulations for the protection of the cruise passengers.  

The newspaper states: "apart from being a terrible personal tragedy for Mrs. Mechling's family, It is a huge black eye for an already suffering cruise industry - and major fallout is expected."

There have been numerous unsettling stories about the cruise industry coming out of Belize recently.  7 News Belize reported  on a  21 year old cruise passenger who went overboard from Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas cruise ship in Belize waters last month.  The story has received no coverage in the U.S., even though the cruise line is based here in Miami and the deceased passenger's family retained counsel in Miami. 

7 News Belize also published an incredible article providing insight into the dispute between cruise giant Carnival and the local tender boat operators in Belize.   

The country of Belize is also the location of a struggle between another cruise giant Royal Diana MechlingCaribbean, which is looking to expand its operations, and the small village of Placencia which is fighting to keep the cruise line out.   

February 4, 2011 Update:

The local news stations in Belize, 7 News Belize and Channel Five Belize, are continuing to report on the investigation into this incident. 

February 8, 2011 Update:

Ms. Mechling's funeral in Westerville Ohio is on Friday, February 11, 2011. 

Her orbituary can be viewed here.

February 9, 2011 Update:

7 News Belize reports that the Port Authority Belize "has concluded its investigation into matter and found that the Captain of the boat Reef Rocket, Martine Manuel Pariente was negligent.

According to a release from the authority, around 1:30 pm last Wednesday, Mechling was in a group of tourists that was getting off the Reef Rocket when she got entangled in one of the boat's propellers and received a large cut wound to the lower pelvic and thigh area.

We note that this differs from the police account which last week said that she somehow ended up snorkeling under the vessel.

But based on its finding The Port Authority has decided to charge 55 year old Pariente with negligently causing loss of life, and has suspended his captain's license. The Reef Rocket has been prohibited from sailing pending further inquiries."

October 21, 2011 Update:  Mr. Mechling filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Holland America and Cruise Solutions Belize in Seattle, Washington.

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Comments (6) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
san - February 3, 2011 1:49 PM

Very sad, very sad...

The vacation of life's???

Better to choose something more safe, aware of norovirus, stupid accidents, etc. etc.

Time to think how safe we are because marketing can
change our minds so easly . . .

May God bless her and the family!!

Jim, keep your great job !

Aikman - February 4, 2011 12:28 AM

Jim,
you are way off the mark here. Cruise Lines generate in USA thousands of jobs, pay billions for services, supplies, pay authorities very time a customs, coast guard, health officer set foot on a ship. Ask Miami, Seattle, Port Everglades or Cape Canaveral officials what they say if the cruise Lines were to stop calling at these ports??? No in case you ask, I am not employed by any of the Lines you mentioned. that you write such rubbish is symptomatic for your site.
Clean up your act please!!

Jim Walker - February 4, 2011 12:51 AM

Come on Aikman, reveal to us your complete name and relationship to the cruise lines, because you sound like a hure for the cruise industry, if you excuse my German.

Who? - February 4, 2011 4:09 AM

sounds like an upcoming law suit to me Mr. Walker. You should be ashamed to use insulting terms like "Hure" to intimidate "Aikman" but shame requires awareness.... maybe going inside would help to overcome own obstacles to get the picture right...

Jim Walker - February 6, 2011 10:31 AM

Who, afraid to use your real name?

Where in Belize do you live?

What is your financial connection to the cruise industry?

Who? - February 7, 2011 5:54 PM

Who is who.....? Should be easy for you to find out, you´re the Lawyer... However Mr. Walker or should I call you "Jim", there´s nothing wrong with your mission to be an Ambassador or Spokesperson for those seeking justice...just do urself the favor to avoid foul language...it doesn´t really seem to serve your goal Robin Hood!

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