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JT1962

Sad News - Glacier Point Wilderness Safari Death

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Posted (edited)

I had not seen this posted here previously. Condolences to the family and friends.

 

https://khns.org/coast-guard-rescues-cruise-ship-passengers-after-canoe-capsizes-at-glacier-point

 

 

The investigation has not been completed and no cause of death was posted, however, there had been concerns with the tour company earlier this year according to this article:

 

https://khns.org/safety-complaints-from-former-employees-pile-up-against-skagway-tour-company

 

 

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Edited by JT1962

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Yikes. We're booked for that in a couple weeks. The complaints and owner's responses from the second link do not inspire confidence.

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Yikes. We're booked for that in a couple weeks. The complaints and owner's responses from the second link do not inspire confidence.

Yikes is right !

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Sad...Seems like an experienced company would have erred on the side of caution about going out due to conditions.

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I would withhold judgment until we learn more about the cause of this accident. My husband and I went on that excursion in early June, and I can't imagine how one of those big, sturdy canoes could overturn. I have to say that it was one of my very favorite excursions in Alaska, I never felt unsafe, and I thought the young people who ran it were very conscientious.

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Sad...Seems like an experienced company would have erred on the side of caution about going out due to conditions.

 

From the second link (from March, so before the accident, when questioned about safety), the owner of the company said: “I had a tendency to push the captains to go too hard. So we addressed these types of issues. You move and you grow.”

I wonder if any conclusion will ever be publicized about the cause of the accident? As a private company, is there any requirement to publicly say what happened? I imagine the cruise lines who sell their excursions will want to know.

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I'd like to know more about the accident. We did this 2 years ago, and I'm not sure where there are rapids... I'll have to look at my pictures. But we all had life jackets on too. I realize the glacier conditions can change over time, but I truly don't remember any rapids at the time we were there, at least not in the canoes. There was an area when we walked on the glacier, that they didn't let us go near. It was a cave like area, and they said it could have water come rushing out. So we stayed probably 15-20 feet back, at least. My husband just reminded me that there were some rapids going in the other direction. Either way, sad to hear about that.

 

Oh, and here are more comments about this same company. Honestly, we loved it, had no complaints, and felt the crew/staff were extremely careful!

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2611244&page=2

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The person who died was the Pastor of a church in North Las Vegas NV. He and his wife were celebrating their anniversary. She was also in the canoe but survived. If you check on the websites of the Las Vegas Review Journal Newspaper and other LV media sites there is more information about the accident.

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OMG. We just used Alaska Excursions last month in Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan, including ziplining in Ketchikan and the glacier wildlife safari (with the canoe) in Skagway. Everything felt completely safe. We were not worried at all.

 

I know where the rapids are - and am not sure how the canoe ended up there in the accident that happened. The canoes started a bit up-river from the rapids area (at least when we were there at the end of July) and we didn't go towards that area at all. The glacier is in the other direction. It was really an incredible excursion and the water was super calm. Ziplining (my first time) seemed extremely safe too.

 

Condolences to the family and friends of the man who passed away. Safety should always be the #1 concern.

 

Note that, although we booked privately through Alaska Excursions, the people on our ship and another ship in port that day who booked through the cruise line were also on our excursion (picked up by the same person at the port).

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OMG. We just used Alaska Excursions last month in Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan, including ziplining in Ketchikan and the glacier wildlife safari (with the canoe) in Skagway. Everything felt completely safe. We were not worried at all.

 

I know where the rapids are - and am not sure how the canoe ended up there in the accident that happened. The canoes started a bit up-river from the rapids area (at least when we were there at the end of July) and we didn't go towards that area at all. The glacier is in the other direction. It was really an incredible excursion and the water was super calm. Ziplining (my first time) seemed extremely safe too.

 

Condolences to the family and friends of the man who passed away. Safety should always be the #1 concern.

 

Note that, although we booked privately through Alaska Excursions, the people on our ship and another ship in port that day who booked through the cruise line were also on our excursion (picked up by the same person at the port).

 

I agree! I really can't understand how it ended up going near/into the rapids. We thoroughly enjoyed it, felt completely safe the entire time.

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I agree! I really can't understand how it ended up going near/into the rapids. We thoroughly enjoyed it, felt completely safe the entire time.

 

With time passed, I doubt we will ever hear the explanations. After reading the Las Vegas paper's account, I wonder if the man didn't possibly have a heart attack or something? In any case, we decided to keep the excursion. If anything, I imagine everyone attached to these Skagway and Haines excursions will be paying extra special attention to safety issues for the rest of the season.

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I agree! I really can't understand how it ended up going near/into the rapids. We thoroughly enjoyed it, felt completely safe the entire time.

 

We did the tour last year and totally agree with your statements about the rapids and safety.

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I read through the CC reviews, and no one says anything about safety issues or accidents or anything that remotely supports these claims.

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I read through the CC reviews, and no one says anything about safety issues or accidents or anything that remotely supports these claims.

 

There were some former workers who raised issues earlier this year. If you search enough - you will find the threads.

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There were some former workers who raised issues earlier this year. If you search enough - you will find the threads.

I saw some of those, and still can say we never saw/felt there were any safety issues. I think some of those had to do with a zipline tour though, which is not what we did. The Glacier Wilderness Safari doesn't include that at all, as far as I know. It may be the same company though. Just speaking from our own experience, it was extremely well run, great guides, very safe, and we loved it!

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From the article at this link, it appears that the water was higher than usual and the motor would not start and they were overcome by the current.

 

The article also mentions that poor maintenance on the canoe motors was one of the complaints from former employees as well as guides feeling pressured to make trips during unsafe weather.

 

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2018/08/04/tour-company-faced-criticism-prior-to-fatal-canoe-accident-in-southeast-alaska/

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Thanks for the link.  I posted earlier on this thread, a bit concerned as we were doing this tour a month after the incident.  We ended up doing it and it was fine.  Nothing seems to have changed from the incident report in terms of the outfitter's actions.  There was a rope line across the river at the start of the rapids area--don't know if that was there before or not.  But it just seems like unfortunate decisions and bad luck--an accident.  I very much enjoyed the excursion, and the college kid guides were delightful.  At no time did we feel in danger or under-informed.  Rivers, canoes, high water, outboard engine not starting in time--these things unfortunately happen.  

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On 11/6/2018 at 9:31 PM, naxer said:

Thanks for the link.  I posted earlier on this thread, a bit concerned as we were doing this tour a month after the incident.  We ended up doing it and it was fine.  Nothing seems to have changed from the incident report in terms of the outfitter's actions.  There was a rope line across the river at the start of the rapids area--don't know if that was there before or not.  But it just seems like unfortunate decisions and bad luck--an accident.  I very much enjoyed the excursion, and the college kid guides were delightful.  At no time did we feel in danger or under-informed.  Rivers, canoes, high water, outboard engine not starting in time--these things unfortunately happen.  

 

Thanks for sharing your recent experiences. Pretty sure there wasn't a rope there when we went 2 years ago. It does sound like it was all an accident. Although hopefully they did change a few of those things too. I remember getting  a safety briefing, but to be honest, I can't remember what they exactly said. It was still one of our favorite things!

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