Cruise lines stop offering parasailing after tourist dies

By Donna Tunney

A parasailing accident in which one cruise passenger was killed and another injured prompted Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International to indefinitely suspend the activity as a cruise line-sponsored shore excursion.

The suspension applies to the entire Caribbean. Norwegian Cruise Line also suspended the activity.

Carnival Cruise Lines suspended parasailing excursions following the death, but only on St. Thomas, where the accident happened.

The 60-year-old passenger who died had been sailing on the Celebrity Eclipse last week and was participating in a Celebrity-sponsored parasailing excursion. Her 34-year-old daughter was injured in the Nov. 15 accident.

The excursion crew provided initial care until both guests were transported by ambulance to the Roy L. Schneider Hospital in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Celebrity said in a statement. The injured guest is still being treated at the hospital.

“A member of our care team is providing support and assistance to the hospitalized guest and her family. Our thoughts are with their family and friends, and we will continue to do our very best to assist them,” Celebrity said.

According to USA Today, the St. Thomas parasailing death is the third this year involving North American tourists. In June, a California newlywed was killed and her husband seriously injured off Grand Bahama Island, and a South Carolina man died off Florida's Longboat Key after the tow boat's propeller failed and the parachute lost buoyancy, plunging him into the water.

The 2,800-passenger Celebrity Eclipse departed Miami Nov. 12 for a seven-night sailing visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

The Virgin Islands Department of Tourism said that the circumstances surrounding the incident are being “actively investigated and additional details will be shared as soon as they are available.”

For cruise news and updates, follow Donna Tunney on Twitter @dttravelweekly. 

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