Bus Crash in Mexico Kills 12 Cruise Tourists


Published Dec 20, 2017 9:03 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday, 12 people were killed and 18 were injured when a bus carrying cruise ship passengers flipped over on a highway near Mahahual, a small town in Quintana Roo, Mexico. A guide and driver were also on the bus. Early reports from Mexican media put the number of fatalities as high as 15; local authorities later clarified that 11 tourists and one guide were killed, but even these lower numbers make the crash one of the worst shore excursion accidents in a decade. 

A spokesman for the state authorities in Quintana Roo said that the bus was on the way to Mayan ruins at Chacchoben, about 110 miles to the south of Tulum. Costa Maya, the bus operator, said in a statement that the injured tourists included U.S., Italian, Swedish and Brazilian nationals. The Washington Post reports that Mexican authorities suspect negligence on the part of the driver, and local Novena Roo News reported Wednesday that he has been taken into custody. 

Royal Caribbean said in a statement that 27 of the bus passengers were from the cruise ships Celebrity Equinox and Serenade of the Seas. The Florida-based cruise operator said that the news of the crash was heartbreaking. "Our hearts go out to all those involved. We are doing all we can to care for our guests, including assisting with medical care and transportation," RCL said in a social media post. 

Bus excursion accidents involving cruisers are not uncommon, reflecting the known risks of traffic accidents in general. Road injuries rank among the top ten causes of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and are especially common in developing nations. One bus crash fatality involving cruisers occurred in Dominica in November 2016; one in Jamaica in January 2016; and two in Tortola in December 2015. Several other crashes over the same period resulted in passenger injuries. 

As of Wednesday, the Celebrity Equinox was under way near Cozumel, bound for George Town in the Cayman Islands. Serenade of the Seas was moored at Cozumel.