November 18, 2011
Carnival Cruise Lines has also canceled its parasailing excursions in St. Thomas, and Celebrity Cruises has canceled its similar trips in the Caribbean indefinitely. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity's sister line, has followed suit.
A 60-year-old passenger sailing on Celebrity Eclipse, who the Virgin Island Daily News identified as Bernice Kraftcheck, 60, died as a result of her fall. Her daughter, Danielle Haese, 34, who was riding in tandem, is still being treated at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Celebrity Cruises spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez confirmed that the mother and daughter were participating in a ship-sponsored shore excursion. According to the Daily News, "squalls and wind gusts in St. Thomas on Tuesday afternoon may have factored into the death." Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad told the outlet that the women hit the water at the same time.
The U.S. Virgin Islands' Web site says that the accident happened just before 5 p.m.
At least six government agencies have convened to investigate the matter, and these agencies have also been working in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard at the Federal level, said the USVI's Department of Tourism in a statement. The parasail company has voluntarily suspended operations until the completion of the full-compliance inspection.
As of Friday morning, Martinez tells Cruise Critic that the investigation is ongoing, and Royal Caribbean and Celebrity have stopped offering parasailing excursions in the Caribbean pending the outcome. Martinez said the decision to shelve the excursions was being made in an "abundance of caution."
--by Dan Askin, News Editor