Sea Spirit Passenger Death, Svalbard, Norway Excursion Overboard, Quark Expeditions Arctic Zodiac Accident June 17, 2013, Time of Death Unknown.
An American tourist in her sixties died during a Quark Expeditions’ Sea Spirit cruise ship excursion in the Arctic , when a dinghy capsized during an excursion in the bay of Fjortende, Juli-bukta, near Svalbard, Norway on June 17, 2013.
Twelve other people on the boat survived, three of whom were slightly injured.
A investigation report by the Bahamas Maritime Authority into the incident found that, ” As part of the expedition cruise itinerary viewing tours of the land scape and surrounding areas were conducted using the ten zodiac craft that were on board the vessel. The conduct and ownership of these tours were the responsibility of the vessel charterers, Quark Expeditions, a US based tour-company specializing in polar expeditions.
Following the launch of these zodiac craft in preparation for the planned morning excursion, the operating crew carried out safety checks and commenced loading passengers. Sea conditions at the time were reportedly calm to moderate and were not considered to pose any undue risk to the safety of the intended operation. Whilst passing close to the shore front the zodiac craft Poseidon was struck by two rolling waves in quick succession and capsized immersing all of the twelve passengers and the zodiac driver into the water. Despite the presence of personal lifesaving appliances, the cold water immersion which occurred resulted in one fatality and two injuries.
In recognition of the emergency situation, all nearby tour craft attended to assist in the recovery of all persons from the water. A full muster of medical personnel ensued on board the Sea Spirit with subsequent transportation of emergency support and equipment to the shore front in order to provide the necessary medical care.
With the exception of the one casualty, all of the craft’s occupants were returned to the Sea Spirit for further treatment. Tragically, despite attempts at revival by the medical team on board, the unconscious casualty was ultimately declared deceased by the medical team.
The two passengers who had sustained injuries during the capsizing were stabilized and discharged from the vessel to a nearby hospital by Search and Rescue helicopter for further treatment. The remainder of the craft’s occupants were assessed by the medical team and considered fit to remain on board the Sea Spirit for the continuation of the cruise.”