The newspaper Today reports that cruise passengers from a cruise ship were involved in a serious accident while riding in an excursion bus to the Loterie Farm excursion in St. Martin. Cruise Critic U.K. reports that the passengers were from Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas cruise ship.
The incident occurred last Thursday while 36 cruise passengers were riding in the excursion bus heading to a zip line adventure / canopy tour at Loterie Farm. The excursion is called the Loterie Farm Treetop Adventure Tour
According to these newspaper accounts, the excursion bus lost control as it was descending a hill, causing it to strike an oncoming taxi and then plummet into a ridge. A photograph of the overturned taxi is to the right. A passenger provided the Today newspaper the following account of the accident
“Just after we went through the Loterie Farm gate we felt the driver hit the brakes but no brakes, and then the bus just started careening down. About half way down we hit a speed bump and everyone hit the ceiling and then the bus just continued rolling down the hill. There was a guy driving coming up the hill while we were going down so we ran into him, flipped that vehicle over and then ran straight down into the ditch. Tree branches got into the bus and many people received whip lashes from the branches. Everyone was screaming manically, we thought we were plunging to our deaths but the tree saved us. The bus driver was pretty much shook up though.”
Accidents involving cruise excursion buses like this are not as uncommon as the cruise lines will admit.
In January, a cruise sponsored open safari bus excursion from a Royal Caribbean ship crashed in St. Thomas, resulting in injuries to eleven cruise passengers. The passengers were traveling from the Serenade of the Seas cruise ship in the safari bus when the open air bus lost control going down an embankment, struck a parked car and then went over a ridge. Royal Caribbean stated that eleven of the passengers were immediately transported to a local area hospital.
Two years ago a young man from a Princess cruise ship was killed and numerous passengers were injured in a cruise bus excursion in Tortola - Excursion Tour Bus Crash In Tortola Injures Princess Cruises' Passengers From Caribbean Princess.
The previous year, a dozen passengers from Celebrity Cruises' Summit cruise ship were seriously injured when an open air excursion vehicle ran off the road in Dominica.
In September 2010, an excursion bus carrying cruise passengers plunged into a ravine in northern Morocco (Castillejos) and killed nine Portuguese tourists. 14 cruise passengers were injured.
It is currently unknown whether this latest accident involved a mechanical breakdown or was due to driver error. There are conflicting accounts of the extent of the passengers' injuries. Some passengers were taken to a local hospital.
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Photo credit: Today newspaper