Celebrity Crash Victims Recovering in Miami

February 25, 2009

Fourteen Celebrity Summit passengers, injured in Monday's vehicular accident on Dominica, were flown to Miami late last night aboard three air ambulances and an additional aircraft -- chartered by Celebrity Cruises -- and were transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

According to the latest statement from the cruise line, one of the 14 guests brought to the facility has already been discharged. The other 13 guests will likely spend a few days at the hospital, "if not longer," depending on their individual circumstances.

In total, there were 16 passengers involved in the crash, which happened during a ship-sponsored shore excursion. Two sustained minor injuries and rejoined the ship on Monday. The remaining crash victims were transferred to the Miami hospital, since it's the closest U.S. trauma center to Dominica that's sufficiently equipped to evaluate the extent of the injuries and provide necessary treatment.

Though the incident was intially coined a bus accident, the cruise line has confirmed today that the vehicle involved is actually an open-air truck, built specifically for tourists. As we reported yesterday, Celebrity Cruises has suspended sales of Caribbean Cooking Adventure tours, pending further investigation.

A resident of Castle Comfort, the community in which the crash took place, described the accident to Dominica News Online as "bloody," saying that one woman was unconscious at the scene. The driver of the bus, Gerard James, told Dominica News Online that the vehicle's brakes gave out.

"I took that tour last year on my 12-day cruise," member xeonpro posted on the Royal Caribbean forum. "It seemed like one of their first times doing the tour, not super organized. The people were all very nice and knowledgeable. The scariest thing was the freakin' bus/trucks they used, rotting plywood seats, rotting roof supports, brakes that mostly worked. Floor boards that were rotting, just painted over with bright colors to look good."

We'll keep you posted.

-- by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor