A young girl from Puerto Rico who was visiting Aruba with her parents during a Royal Caribbean cruise was seriously injured during an ATV accident over the weekend.

Jednniely Perez Rivas, age 7, suffered extensive injuries on August 17, 2018 during an accident while traveling in an off-road vehicle which her parents rented during their cruise. The local media in Aruba reported that the young girl was in an ATV with her mother when the vehicle was involved in an accident with a van. The girl was ejected and sustained severe injuries to her leg and foot.

Another cruise passenger, identified as retired NYPD officer Sean Whelan, arrived at the scene of the accident and immediately administered emergency medical treatment to the child, who had reportedly lost a foot and was not breathing.  Mr. Whelan used a towel as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and performed CPR at the scene for twenty minutes until the girl began breathing again. He accompanied the girl to a local hospital and then arranged to pay $15,000 to fly the child to a pediatric hospital in San Juan hospital, once he learned that the family had no insurance. He then traveled with the injured child on the air ambulance from Aruba.

The family, from Puerto Rico (Bayamon), had booked two cabins on the Freedom of the Sea, including her parents and another sibling as well as two other family members.

Jednniely’s family called Officer Whelan a “guardian angel,” stating that “there are no words to thank him,” according to Telemundo in Pureto Rico.

The child was placed in a medically induced coma when she arrived in San Juan last Friday, but she is reportedly recovering from her injuries.

News stations in Puerto Rico and back in New York, where Mr. Whelan lives, recognized retired officer Whelan for his “Good Samaritan” acts of  kindness and generosity to this family during their time of distress.

It is unknown whether the Rivas family purchased the ATV excursion independently or thorough the cruise line.

You can see photos and video of the accident scene here.

You can listen to Officer Whelan’s riveting account of saving the life of the young girl, who he considers “to be part of his family now.”

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Video: El Nuevodia; photo credit: Aruba Native / MrBodmod YouTube.

The Diario newspaper in Aruba reports on a passenger from Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess cruise ship who died in an accident ashore in Aruba.

The unidentified passenger rented a four wheel ATV (all terrain vehicle) and collided with what the newspaper reports is a Dodge Ram pickup truck.  

ATV Accident - Aruba - Caribbean Princess Cruise ShipThe Cruise Critic website includes several comments by passengers on the cruise who saw the aftermath of the accident.

Many Cruise Critic readers commented on dangers ashore in port of call when passengers rent mopeds and ATV’s and encounter different road conditions and traffic on the "other side of the road."  

The driver of the ATV was apparently not wearing a helmet.  The comments to the story seem to suggest that the ATV was rented privately, and not as part of an excursion sold by the cruise line.

Companies which rent ATV’s and mopeds should require that all drivers wear helmets, and should not rent the vehicles unless the company provides a helmet to the driver.  It is unknown whether Aruba requires helmets to be warn in these situations.    

April 22, 2010 Update:

The cruise passengers involved in the accident are Frederich Norman, age 41, who was killed, and his wife Christine Norman, age 37, who was injured, according to the LondonFree Press in Canada. There is a suggestion that the pickup truck may have swerved into an oncoming lane, causing the collision with the Normans’ ATV.  There is also mention of drugs being found in the truck.  These accounts appear to be based on the Diario newspaper in Aruba.

Princess Cruises PR - Julie Benson - Stringent Excursion Safety RulesThe London Free Press points to the incident as raising the issue of the questionable safety of many excursions cruise passengers may choose during their cruises. 

Princess Cruises PR person, Julie Benson (photograph right), is quoted as stating that the ATV rental was not one sanctioned by Princess Cruises. Ms. Benson claims that Princess Cruises requires a "stringent set of rules and safety measures" before recommending local companies to its cruise passengers.

In February a Princess Cruises passenger was killed and other passengers were injured when a cruise excursion bus with no seat belts, operated by a driver named "Crash Dummy" with a record which included criminal conduct and reckless driving, crashed while descending a steep hill in Tortola. 

It will be interesting to see exactly what Princess Cruises’ "stringent" excursion safety rules look like.  

 

 

Credits:    

Photograph of ATV        Diario Online Newspaper

Photograph of Princess PR            Julie Benson Twitter