A newspaper in the Bahamas is reporting that a passenger from a Disney cruise ship drowned while visiting Disney’s private island Castaway Cay.
According to reports by the Tribune, on Thursday afternoon, a 38–year-old man from New York who was a passenger on board the Disney Wonder moored at Castaway Cay drowned while swimming.
The details of the incident are unknown.
Disney is known for having trained lifeguards at its private islands, at least for areas where children swim. In a 2008 publication entitled Walt Disney Report on Safety, Disney states that it trains over 1,200 lifeguards a year, including on its cruise ships. Here’s what Disney states:
"Together, the Disneyland® Resort, Walt Disney World® Resort and Disney Cruise Line® train more than 1,200 lifeguards a year to monitor activities at these venues."
"Our lifeguards must complete a thorough training program that exceeds most U.S. standards and includes both a water-skills test and up to 24 hours of basic training in water rescue techniques, CPR, basic first aid, oxygen administration and the use of AEDs. After completion of basic training, lifeguards must also perform four hours of in-service training each month, undergo eight hours of recertification training every year and participate in frequent unannounced audits by one of the world’s premier aquatic safety service providers."
Disney used to not have lifeguards on its cruise ships but recently paid a large multi-million dollar settlement after it was sued when a young child nearly drown on the Disney Fantasy which had no lifeguards.
The last drowning I recall on a cruise line’s private island involved a very tragic death of a 3 year old girl who died at Holland America Line’s private destination Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. You can read our article about that event here – Tragedy on HAL’s Half Moon Cay: A Mother’s Perspective.
March 1 2015 Update: There was a second incident the following day when the Disney Fantasy was visiting Castaway Cay. Passengers have contacted me and said that they observed the Coast Guard take someone away whoa needed medical attention while snorkeling. Some passengers said they saw a man with an IV medevaced in a helicopter.
March 3 2015 Update: The Tribune newspaper in the Bahamas reports that "a second passenger in four days has died while vacationing on a Disney cruise to The Bahamas. A 56-year-old American man was discovered dead on Sunday morning onboard the ship at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island."
March 4 2015 Update: Disney confirms that there was a second incident involving a passenger swimming in Castaway Cay. Disney told the Tribune newspaper that the passenger was from the Disney Fantasy, who was also found unresponsive at the family beach on Friday. “The guest was wearing snorkeling vest and gear and was discovered unresponsive in the water at the family beach by a lifeguard. They brought him ashore and they gave him life saving measures and he was ultimately transported to hospital in Miami.”
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Photo Credit: "Castaway Cay beach" by Soprano For Now – Disney Magic at Castaway Cay 1. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons