September 13, 2001
More tragic news albeit unrelated to Tuesday's attacks: 16 passengers on a Caribbean cruise aboard Holland America's Maasdam died in a plane crash during a day spent visiting Chichen Itza. The accident, which occurred on a twin-engine LET 410 turboprop, took place as the group, all Seattle-area residents, was returning to the ship. Conditions at that time were reportedly sunny and clear and Mexico's federal aviation officials are investigating. The tour was sold through Holland America's shore excursion arm.
The airline, Aero Ferinco is based on Cozumel and flies in the Yucatan Peninsula, to Guatemala and Cuba. It specializes in chartered air tours. The two pilots had thousands of hours of flying experience between them.
Maasdam left Cozumel late Wednesday night -- the bodies were being sent to Merida, the capital of the Mexican province -- but a spokeswoman says Holland America staffers stayed on shore to coordinate arrangements. There will be an onboard memorial service.