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Tour Bus Crash in Tortola – Caribbean Princess Passenger Dies

Cruise-sponsored excursion tragedy

Update February 24, 4:00 pm: The driver of the tour bus, Rolland Allen, has been arrested for dangerous driving causing death.

The Caribbean Princess docked this morning in Tortola to beautiful sunshine and sparkling water. But a cruise-sponsored excursion tragedy before noon changed the tone of the day.

The excursion picked up 20 passengers from the pier and headed to a "Tropical Forest Hike and Beach Adventure" (a cruise-sponsored excursion). A 24-year-old Rochester man on vacation with his parents, died when the tour bus he was in crashed into an embankment and rolled over.

Aaron Rumphrey (previously reported as Humphrey) was killed and two other passengers were seriously injured - one person broke a shoulder bone. The rest of the passengers are onboard and the ship has set sail for Antigua.

This is the first death involving a motor vehicle in Tortola this year. Although the streets are narrow and challenging to navigate, drivers in Tortola are courteous and happy to help tourists (we got lost a couple times and had to ask directions).

Princess takes great care with shore excursions. I spent an hour talking with the Shore Excursions Manager on the Caribbean Princess, Bryan Attree, earlier this week. His advice on booking cruise-sponsored excursions will help those trying to decide whether to fly solo or not.

"Princess audits and monitors tour operators continually to ensure safety is top priority," says Attree.

But accidents happen. Princess has cancelled the tour until investigations are complete and is providing support to family members. As well, Captain Tony Draper announced the accident on the ship twice today to ensure passengers are kept informed.

The Commissioner of Police Reynell Frazer commented: "Our Traffic Investigation Unit will do a thorough investigation into the cause of this accident. I have personally extended sympathy on behalf of the BVI Government to the family and have promised to keep them informed on the progress of the investigation."

Acting Director of the Tourist Board Hadassah Ward said: "For our visitors to come to enjoy our territory and meet such a fate is regrettable. We are saddened by this unexpected incident and the BVI Tourist Board has deployed the Coordinator of the Tourist Board's Visitor Support Service Programme Albert Wheatley who is presently with the family and assisting them with liaising with the appropriate authorities."

The Caribbean Princess left Sunday from San Juan for a seven day Southern Caribbean cruise. It will dock in Antigua tomorrow, St. Lucia on Thursday and Barbados on Friday before heading back to San Juan.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rumphrey family at this time.


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On a note about the roads of Totrola which are steep, and windy and narrow, all the more reason that tour vehicles should have regular safety checks, SEATBELTS (which dirvers should mandate use or not allow passengers to continue with the tour, driver's should go slow, and Princess Cruise Lines should do extensive background checks, and not hire people with the nick-name of Crash-Dummy.

We were also on the ship with our friends, had spent the day at the beach in Tortola where the slider on my Omega came off, "broke" and lost. I had just purchased it on board the ship the day prior. But nothing can compare to the loss of a family member. The Captain had everyones attention for the announcement. Captain Draper done a great job informing the passengers of the accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rumphrey family.

I just returned from this tragic Caribbean Princess cruise. Although I was not a part of this particular excursion, it was both saddening and shocking for everyone on the ship when Capt. Draper made the announcements. The following day, we spoke to one of the excursion bus passengers who felt the bus driver did everything in his power to slow the bus down and they felt the bus driver had saved all of their lives. According to my fellow passenger, the fatality was caused by the young man being thrown through the front windshield. Of note, it was rumored told during the cruise that a witness saw the brakes being worked prior to the excursion.

Thanks for posting your comment. I was very impressed with the way Captain Draper handled the situation and I told him so. He made it a priority to inform all passengers and eliminated rumor and speculation. It's nice to know the other passengers involved felt the driver saved their lives. The roads in Tortola are terrible and I'm sure much skill is involvd navigating them safely. I hope you enjoyed your cruise, despite this tragedy. Julia

Yes, his name was Aaron Rumphrey. He was my nephew.

I was on that cruise that took Aaron's life, and it definatley upset my week. My heart was so heavy over the thought of his dear parents losing their son on what was to be a very happy time. My heart is with his family and I will pray for them.

Thank you for letting us know, DS. This is truly a tragedy and you have our deepest sympathies. I hope the Princess CARE team is taking good care of your family.

The young man killed in this accident was Aaron Rumphrey and not Humphrey as reported. Our family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you for taking a moment to leave a comment. This is truly a tragic accident and all on board are deeply saddened. All of the news reports both on the ship and on the web are stating Humphry as the name but I will look into it and update my post later today.

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