Cruise Passenger Dies After Zodiac Accident

June 18, 2013

(10:00 a.m. EDT) -- A passenger from Quark Expeditions' Sea Spirit died after the Zodiac she was on capsized June 17 near Svalbard, Norway. Two others were injured.

"Quark Expeditions Inc. regrets to confirm that an accident has occurred during a Zodiac sightseeing excursion near the 14th of July Glacier, just outside of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway," Quark said in a prepared statement. "A Zodiac carrying 12 passengers capsized, resulting in the fatality of one passenger and the injury of two other passengers. The injured passengers are not critical but are receiving medical care in Longyearbyen."

According to the Mirror's John Honeywell, the victim was an American woman in her 60's. She and the other 11 passengers fell into the water when their boat was struck by a wave.

Local authorities received a call for help at noon, local English-language news source Views and News from Norway reported. A rescue helicopter with a doctor onboard was sent, but the woman died before they arrived. Authorities have not yet determined the cause of death, and an investigation is under way.

"Quark Expeditions is doing everything possible to assist those involved and the local authorities during this difficult time," Quark said via its statement.

Sea Spirit is in the midst of a 10-night Spitsbergen Explorer sailing that left Longyearbyen on June 14.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor