11 Cruise Passengers Hospitalized Following Caribbean Sailing

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Over 200 cruise guests endured an unexpected stopover in Bermuda after a pre-Christmas Caribbean cruise.

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They were forced to stay over Christmas in Bermuda after their flight home to the UK was hit with severe turbulence. It injured 11 passengers who were admitted to hospital.

The ’freak’ clean air turbulence occurred a few hours after leaving Barbados for Manchester. The charter aircraft, carrying 225 mostly British P&O Cruises’ guests, diverted to Bermuda for medical treatment. None of the 13 crew members were injured.

No serious injuries

Maleth Aero
An aircraft from the charter company P&O Cruises hires for transatlantic flights. (Maleth Aero)

P&O Cruises said all those taken to hospital were discharged within a few hours. A spokesperson of Bermuda Ministry of National Security confirmed they suffered only ‘minor’ injuries.

“Emergency medical technicians greeted the aircraft to provide initial assessments of the passengers and pre-hospital care.” Still, they were forced to spend three days there while extensive safety checks were carried out on the chartered Maleth Aero Airbus jet.

“The flight to Manchester was diverted following freak turbulence,” a P&O Cruises spokesperson said. “Having explored all flying options and due to airport operating times, guests were placed in hotels in Bermuda.” The fly-cruise guests had enjoyed a Caribbean cruise aboard P&O ship Arvia with several port calls, including Antigua, St. Lucia, and the Dominican Republic.

Severe turbulence without warning

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Clear Air Turbulence is an unexpected and severe type of turbulence that occurs at higher altitudes in cloudless skies. It can cause violent shaking of an aircraft and altitude loss. One passenger described a scene of chaos as, without any warning, the plane “literally just dropped.” There was “lots of screaming and lights flickering,” she told the Manchester Evening News.

Why do cruise lines charter flights?

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Travel companies and cruise lines in the UK offer fly and cruise packages that include chartered flights to the Caribbean to enhance the overall customer experience.

These companies can offer a more exclusive and tailored service by chartering planes, making the journey feel like part of the holiday. In addition, these packages enable companies to reach a broader customer base, including those who live far from major ports or who seek the ease of an all-inclusive travel plan.

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