Update on HAL / Promech Air Excursion Crash

The Daily Mail identifies the names of the 8 cruise passengers and the pilot killed in the "flightseeing" excursion in Alaska. The HAL passengers were from California, Nevada, Oregon and Maryland.

The Alaska Dispatch News takes a look at this type of excursion and describes it as a "lucrative subset" of the cruise industry.  

Yahoo Travel published an article today and discussed the dangers associated with flying in unregulated HAL - Promech Air Crashairspace in bad weather with limited visibility. I was interviewed for the article and I conveyed the thoughts of many residents and cruise passengers who have been on this type of excursion before:

Maritime lawyer Jim Walker points out that there is tremendous pressure exerted by the cruise lines and the excursion companies to fly, notwithstanding poor weather, in order to maximize profits. “I have heard many complaints from Alaskan residents and cruise passengers that excursion planes and helicopters routinely take off in poor weather with very limited visibility,” Walker told Yahoo Travel. “The cruise passengers cannot cancel if the weather is bad without a penalty.”

According to Walker, many excursion policies state that there is a 100 percent cancellation fee if a passenger cancels within three days of sailing. “It’s a tough choice — lose your excursion fee or risk your life,” says Walker. “This is an unreasonable and irresponsible policy. Profits over safety.”

You can read our first article about this ordeal here

Photo Credit: Promech via worldairlinenews

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Comments (8) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Deeply Offended - June 28, 2015 3:59 PM

I am currently an Officer serving on the Westerdam, as I was last week during the terrible accident last week.
Your article insinuates we forced, or 'exerted pressure' to make those tours fly last week
That is DEEPLY offensive to us the crew onboard that are still distraught over the events of last week (and yes, the Company has put a councillor onboard this week for the crew)
Either post evidence we, as a Comapany, force or pressure tours to override their safety protocols to 'maximize profits' or retract your deeply hurtful insinuations
We sell tours provided by local companies and orgnisations. Before doing buisness with them we do an in depth review of their policies, procedures and safety history. We are not in the buisness of flying or maintaining planes, and so leave the judgment of whether a tour is safe or not with with the experts.. the tour providor. As an obvious note, the pilot himself is in the plane, so would be very unlikely to fly if he thought it was unsafe and so risk his life
As it turned out, some flights were cancelled last week, and the persons on those tours got a full refund from HAL
we do not, and would not, EVER force a tour company to override their safety protocols for profit, and for you to insinuate we do and that to be the underlying cause of last week's tragedy is an unacceptable offense to us, the crew of the Westerdam

Jim Walker - June 28, 2015 6:40 PM

"Deeply Offended:"

What's your name?

I'm sure that you will be deposed under oath and will be able to tell your tale at an appropriate time.

Please tell me why your internet provider address (IP) is Carnival Cruise Line?

Deeply Offended - June 29, 2015 12:17 AM

You know my name, I supplied my email address. I'm not a troll that hides behind anonymity, I just like my privacy and assume you, as an alleged champion of ethics, would respect it too.

My message above is a personal one, and in no way is speaking on behalf of my company, or its views on the matter, so am bemused that your reply to finding out that your comments and insinuations regarding the accident are very hurtful to the crew that were in no way culpable is to threaten me with legal action. Rather than looking for your next meal ticket I would suggest looking up the word empathy, it might stand you well in becoming somewhat of a better human being. We lost 8 guests last week. Something that shocked and saddened us greatly, and something that, unsurprisingly if you have a shred of humanity, still does

I rather suspect the reason I have a Carnival ip address is I'm on a Holland America Line ship. I appreciate you choose to be wilfully ignorant of large swaths of our industry but even you must be aware Carnival is our parent
company

Depose me? And for what purpose would that achieve? why not add the other 803 crew to your list whilst at it, and show yourself to be the ambulance chaser you fight to hide

Again, my personal views and not that of my company - thank you again for insulting and offending us, and not even having the decency to offer a less than sincere 'sorry, perhaps I went too far this time'

Jim Walker - June 29, 2015 10:02 AM

Emails from HAL cruise ships are identified with a HAL IP address. The Carnival IP address comes from the Carnival headquarters in Miami.

Your comments are the typical stuff we see from the cruise line managers, whether they be HAL or Carnival. Your priority is your own feelings and your own image, and not those of the cruise passengers who you maim or kill.

I see that you continue to refuse to identify yourself (your email does not include you full name). This is a typical ploy of a cruise coward - full of personal insults but lacking the backbone to identify yourself.

You cannot pack 8 guests into a HAL excursion plane, take off in bad weather with limitied visibility, kill them all and not expect litigation to follow. You have chosen to be the first cruise line representative to feel compelled to make a written statement in public. You will be eventually identified in the legal process. You will be subpoenaed for a deposition, as much as you now try to distance your employer from your statements.

The cruise line excursion policies and procedures remain dangerous nothwithstanding your anonymous ad hominem attacks.

Jim Walker - June 30, 2015 5:07 PM

Officer Mark Wilson a/k/a "Deeply Offended:"

Several HAL crew members sent me your postings on your Facebook page where you tell your "cruise ship colleagues" not to read my articles. (You don't seem to have much respect from the crew).

You object to my "latest article about the tragedy that happened here on the Westerdam last week" because it "insinuates HAL forces tour companies to ignore safety (in this case to fly in bad weather) in order to maximize profits."

Your opinions, of course, whatever they are, are your opinions. If you chose to defend HAL at every turn and attack HAL's critics, that is perfectly within your rights to do so.

But it's worth noting that you are urging your HAL co-employees not to re-post my articles. You are actively trying to suppress my opinions. You reinforce the view that HAL tries to censor criticism of its brand when things go wrong.

You cannot claim that you value "privacy" when you post your comments openly on Facebook in a very public format. As a practical matter, when you tell your shipmates not to read my articles, it increases the readership ten-fold.

Your online resume says that you have spent over 11 with HAL and now work as a "fleet trainer providing intensive safety training in ship abandonment and emergency response techniques."

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/mark-wilson/54/551/29

Perhaps you should spend less time trying to act as a PR crisis manager and more time studying safety and emergency training. From the incidents where women are brutalized on your fleet to the serious problems that HAL has failing to respond when passengers and crewmembers go overboard, you have a lot of work to do.

anita pecoraro - June 30, 2015 7:18 PM

I was on Holland America last week the Osterdam and my husband and I as well as my 2 friends had a float plane excersion cancelled in Ketchican because of bad weather. We were given a full refund and the cruise ship had nothing to do with the cancellation they did not even know until we returned to the ship and told them. The staff was very accomodating and I believe very caring . I thank them for that and a great trip. My prayers go out to the families who lost their loved ones. I am thankful our excursion was cancelled.

Sue MannIng - June 30, 2015 10:00 PM

We sincerely hope that the air crash investigation into the Promech Misty Fjords seaplane tragedy on Thursday, 25th June takes into account the experiences of other passengers booked onto the same tour that day. We believe this to be essential to obtaining a full evidence base on which to determine why the crash happened and to ensure that similar, tragic accidents are avoided in the future. Passengers from two HAL cruise ships (Noordam and Westerdam), including ourselves, were booked onto the Misty Fjords tour that day.
Our hearts go out to the families of the poor souls who lost their lives in this tragic accident.

Mal Ray - August 3, 2015 8:12 PM

"Deeply Offended"
My take was that the man simply was reciting facts, with emphasis on the inability of passengers to decide for themselves without facing a financial loss.

If you wish to argue further, would you not be simply ignoring factual and well proven findings?

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