Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Passenger Dies After Bermuda 'Helmet Dive'

June 9, 2011

(1:40 p.m. EDT) -- A 52-year-old female cruise passenger on a helmet-diving excursion in Bermuda died on Tuesday. The woman, whom Bermuda police named as Donna Zapata, was on a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas. Royal Caribbean said in a statement that Zapata had been participating in a ship-sponsored shore excursion. Helmet diving is a shallow water activity in which participants wear airtight helmets connected to tubes carrying a steady stream of oxygen.

The statement said that excursion crew provided initial care, including CPR, until Zapata was transported by ambulance to the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Hamilton, Bermuda, where she was pronounced dead.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Bermuda police said an investigation into Zapata's death is underway. An autopsy will be performed on the deceased during the course of this week.

Bermuda Maritime Operations told The Royal Gazette on Tuesday evening that Zapata had turned blue and had died of a suspected heart attack.

--by Dan Askin, News Editor