Thursday, March 23, 2006

Celebrity Moving Quickly in Tragedy ...

Aid Dispatched, Facts Gathered: Dan Hanrahan, Celebrity Cruises president, on Thursday at a Miami press conference, reported on a fatal bus crash involving guests from Celebrity Cruises' Millennium that occurred Wednesday afternoon in a remote area northeast of Arica, Chile. Offering assurances that everything possible is being done for victims, survivors, and families, Hanrahan said, “Here's what we do know at this time.”

From Celebrity:

  • Fourteen guests from Celebrity Cruises' Millennium riding in a bus operated by an independent tour operator not affiliated with Celebrity were involved in an accident about 28 miles northeast of Arica, Chile.
  • According to reports, the guests were returning from Lauca National Park on an independent, private tour they had arranged.
  • The bus apparently swerved to avoid an approaching truck on a rugged mountain highway. The bus ran off the road, plunging 300 feet on a mountainside.
  • Twelve guests on the bus were killed, and two other guests were injured.
  • The Chilean driver of the bus and the tour guide reportedly also are injured.
  • The guests involved in the accident are part of a larger, 64-person B'nai B'rith group. Celebrity Cruises is consulting with a rabbi on how best to support the families.
  • Responders transported the injured to the Arica Juan Noah Hospital for treatment. The two injured guests are in stable condition in an ICU unit.
  • Upon learning of the accident, Millennium's captain dispatched a physician, nurse and concierge to the hospital to assist.
  • Celebrity Cruises also notified the U.S. Consulate, U.S. Coast Guard and Bahamian authorities.
  • Millennium departed Valparaiso, Chile, March 19 on a 14-night sailing scheduled to conclude in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on April 2.
  • The accident occurred on the fourth day of the cruise and at the first port call. Millennium was carrying1,536 guests and 920 crew members on this particular sailing.
  • Millennium was scheduled to leave Arica Wednesday night for its next port call at Lima, Peru, on Friday. To assist authorities and allow any guests wishing to depart the ship to disembark, Millennium's departure from Arica was delayed until today.
  • The ship is conducting a service onboard for guests to pay their respects to those involved in the accident.
  • Celebrity has opened all phone lines and Internet access to guests onboard Millennium so they can communicate with friends and loved ones to apprise them of their safety.
  • The ship's physician, nurse and concierge dispatched to the hospital will remain in Arica to assist Chilean medical personnel, as well as family members.
  • Celebrity Cruises has established two toll-free telephone lines for family members of guests sailing on Millennium for this cruise. These numbers are for family members only.
  • In transit to Arica: A special-assistance team from Miami led by John Krousouloudis, vice president for marine operations. The rabbi also is with this team.
  • Celebrity is flying family members of those involved, and who choose to go, to Chile.
  • Celebrity Cruises is, at this point, is not providing names of victims, out of respect for their families.
  • Hanrahan pledges Celebrity Cruises will do “whatever we can to help find the answers we all want and need.” Hanrahan also said he and “all other members of our senior-management team -- will remain personally involved in efforts to find those answers.”


Blogger Ira Krakow said...

I don't understand how Celebrity, or any other cruise line, authorizes a tour company. My wife and I have been on many cruises, including Celebrity. The tour operators are almost always independent contractors. When an accident like this happens, there doesn't appear to be any recourse.

All cruise lines should post prominently on their Web site the procedures they use to certify a tour company.

12:01 PM  

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