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Guest michael@cruisecritic

Poll: Roatan Zip-Line Tragedy

Are potentially dangerous excursions such as zip-lining worth the risk?  

597 members have voted

  1. 1. Are potentially dangerous excursions such as zip-lining worth the risk?

    • No, life is more precious than a cheap thrill!
      88
    • No, I get more pleasure from safer excursions anyway
      84
    • Maybe, depends on what kind of safety standards are in place
      219
    • Yes, I take a bigger risk driving my car every day
      163
    • Yes, you have to take chances and go for the gusto!
      43


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Guest michael@cruisecritic

In the wake of the recent death of a Norwegian Spirit passenger in a tragic fall from a Roatan zip-line canopy tour, it may be time to examine the merits of potentially risky shore excursions. Where do you stand on the issue? Are you a devout adrenaline junky or a disciple of safety-consciousness?

 

Voice your opinion in our poll, and post below to share your perspective on this unfortunate incident.

 

-----------------------------

Michael Potter

Assistant Editor

Cruise Critic

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but so is life.

 

I am so sad for the family and would like to say that my heart goes out for them.

 

To celebrate my 50th birthday.....I took two risks. I ziplined in Costa Rica and parasailed in the Bahamas. I am deathly afraid of heights, but wanted to take the risk. I wanted to prove to myself I could overcome my fear of heights and do something truly out of the ordinarary for me.

 

I am so glad I did it. Upon completion of both events, I was so proud of myself! Yes, I could have had an accident. Yes, I could have been killed or injured. My philosophy is that you only live once. I got out of my comfort zone and did something I wouldn't normally do to commemorate my living. If I had died during either of these events, I would hope that my family would know that I died doing something that I wanted to do. Doing something I wanted to accomplish. I wasn't sitting at my desk, I wasn't hit by a drunk driver. I was on a cruise...doing something that I love....taking a risk I wanted to take.

 

God bless the survivors........I hope they believe their loved one is in a better place.

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In 2006 my husband and I did a zipline in Puerta Vallerta. It had two lines, the second being a backup to the first. The guides were extremely professional and I felt VERY safe. Last summer we took the family on a zipline in Kaui, only one line, when we asked about a backup they almost laughted at us saying how useless it is due to the fact that these cables can support so much weight. I have to say, I was a little less than comfortable as my 8 year old zipped across.

 

I would definitely take this excursion again, but now will ask if there are two lines. Better safe...

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In 2006 my husband and I did a zipline in Puerta Vallerta. It had two lines, the second being a backup to the first. The guides were extremely professional and I felt VERY safe. Last summer we took the family on a zipline in Kaui, only one line, when we asked about a backup they almost laughted at us saying how useless it is due to the fact that these cables can support so much weight. I have to say, I was a little less than comfortable as my 8 year old zipped across.

 

I would definitely take this excursion again, but now will ask if there are two lines. Better safe...

Ironically the recent death occured on a course with 2 lines.

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I feel safer flying my plane then driving... So its a calculated risk that you take. Would I jump out of a plane, probably not. Not because I think its unsafe. I just don't have any interest in jumping from planes.. I fly them not jump out of them.. Plus I don't like the feeling of free falling..

 

I have been on a tour like this in Belize with 12 other family members.. I felt safe and we all had fun.. If anything had happen to any of us. Of course I would be hart broken and the last thing I would be thinking about was my vacation. But then again accidents can happen anywhere.. The lose of a family member wouldn't be any different if you weren't on vacation.

 

But I'm also not going to stop living life because of the what if's.. Live wouldn't be fun then. It seems this company has had a good safety record. Since this is the 1st accident like this in 6 years of service! This lady could have gotten killed walking for the beach to the ship also.. I think everyone feels for this family. But risk is every where in life..

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I would never do the Zip Line because I'm a chicken. I love to ride Sea-Dos in the ocean. Our oldest son has over 1,000 skydiving jumps. Our neighbor was laying in his hammock in the back yard in Tulsa, OK and the tree it was attached to fell on him and killed him. I put 35,000 miles each year on my car. Life is a risk.

 

My heart is broken for the family. What a horrible loss.

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I took my first zip line ride in Roatan a month ago today (February 26) and had a great time.

 

I felt quite secure at the time but, frankly, this impression was reinforced by the fact that arrangements were made through NCL. There is no way for a passenger to know what is truly safe in a distant foreign country beforehand, or what kind of regulation and inspection an operator is subject to, so we put a lot of trust in the offerings of the cruise line.

 

NCL is meeting a legitimate passenger demand for adventure trips in its ports of call but it also has a heavy responsibility to assure the safety of its passengers in a world where these passengers are incapable of assessing the real risks. I hope that NCL makes some statement about its policies, present and future, in this matter as I would want to know them before booking tours on my next cruise.

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In the wake of the recent death of a Norwegian Spirit passenger in a tragic fall from a Roatan zip-line canopy tour, it may be time to examine the merits of potentially risky shore excursions. Where do you stand on the issue? Are you a devout adrenaline junky or a disciple of safety-consciousness?

 

Voice your opinion in our poll, and post below to share your perspective on this unfortunate incident.

 

-----------------------------

Michael Potter

Assistant Editor

Cruise Critic

 

 

You never know what could potentially go wrong. you may think something is safe and then the worst imaginable thing happens. They call those things horrible accidents. My heart goes out to the family and friends Barb.

 

Peace be with you all

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Michael,

I am definitely sorry for the lady's family and of course no one deserves to die this way but sometimes in our life it's what happens. Pilots for many plane accidents but will we stop flying, motorcycles are feared by many for dangerous speed but we still don't ban them from existence. My point is that this was a horrible accident for the victim and also the business, But I think we will move on and Canopy or Zip-lines will still be here. I won't let it stop me on my next vacation...

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If we stop doing any activity that could kill us, then we stop living, because any activity could kill us, including walking down the stairs at home.

 

Cruise ships sink and people sometimes die from this (I am referring to the two people who died when the Sea Diamond sunk in Greece last year). Yet I don't see people saying that cruising is too dangerous and that they will no longer cruise.

 

Airplanes fall out of the sky, yet people still fly. Cars crash and yet people still drive. People have died from spider bites while sleeping, yet people still sleep. Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

 

One has to do a risk/reward analysis. Is the potential risk worth the potential reward? When you analyze the potential risk, you have to take into consideration what is the worst that can happen, what is the chance of the worst happening, what is the worst that is most likely to happen and what is the chance of what is most likely to happen happening? Then consider the rewards and make an informed decision.

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The United States seems hell bent on proving that the old expression "you can't cure stupid" is not true. Given the lawyers and politicians in power, their answer to any activity is to sue and regulate. When they are done, we can all float in a little bubble somewhere with all needs attended to by the gummint.

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All life is a chance. Any one of us could be walking down an outside ladder/stairwell and tumble to our death on a cruise ship. Riding with a taxi driver at any island is a risk. Crossing a street in a different country can be a challange.

She did something she wanted to do and something went wrong. I for one would not let anything stop me from what I want to do.

May the God of this families choice bless her and them....

 

PS: The one thing in life that you will always regret is the risks you never took...(wink)

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In the wake of the recent death of a Norwegian Spirit passenger in a tragic fall from a Roatan zip-line canopy tour, it may be time to examine the merits of potentially risky shore excursions. Where do you stand on the issue? Are you a devout adrenaline junky or a disciple of safety-consciousness?

 

Voice your opinion in our poll, and post below to share your perspective on this unfortunate incident.

 

-----------------------------

Michael Potter

Assistant Editor

Cruise Critic

I have taken zip tours in Puerto Vallarta and in Ketchikan Alaska. They used different equiptment and each was totally different in the way you balanced in the zip ride harness. We invited others to join in in Alaska and were pleased with both experiences. Not worth dying for but certainly worth sharing with 7 of my dearest family and friends. How can anyone hold back experiencing life's offerings fearful of what ifs? If we have only this day, should we not partake in it's offerings?

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It is certainly a tragedy that this young woman lost her life. However, no excursion is completely risk free. Simply climbing aboard a tour bus could result in serious injury or loss of life. People who elect to participate in the more adventurous activities found on a cruise are generally willing to accept the risk. I would hate to see all such activities closed down because of one failure. Our prayers are with the family and we hope that they will be at peace.

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I've been thinking a lot about this woman and this issue since it happened. We were in Roatan in January on a RCI cruise. We did the South Shore Zipline. It was not a cruise excursion. We did it on our own. I had already decided before this accident that I would not zipline again. I'm glad I did it. Like someone else said, doing it took me out of my comfort zone and I was very proud that I had done it at 46 years old. I would not, however, do it again.

 

I do intend to live my life the best that I can and enjoy every experience that I can, but I hope the one thing I take from this tragedy is to be more aware of the safety issues involved when I find myself doing something that might not be quite as safe as it is advertised.

 

My thoughts and prayers are with this woman's family. I am so sorry for their loss.

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My heart goes out to Barbara Sue Fojtasek's family and friends. It must have been a horrible shock to lose their loved one so suddenly.

 

What happened to Barbara Sue shouldn't ever be construed as a reason to think that she & her family should not have chosen to do the zip-line. They were enjoying their adventure until the unspeakable happened.

 

I probably wouldn't a zip-line because I don't like heights. But, I would do other things that I enjoy that carries proven risks (ride/jump horses - remember Christopher Reeves?) I had a motorcycle before I met my DH. Fortunately, I lived through that phase without any accidents or injuries. I guess what I'm saying is that you have to live life to the fullest and do what you enjoy. There is a risk to everything and nothing is for certain. As far as I know, we only pass this way once, so I want to live it up!

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NCL is meeting a legitimate passenger demand for adventure trips in its ports of call but it also has a heavy responsibility to assure the safety of its passengers in a world where these passengers are incapable of assessing the real risks. I hope that NCL makes some statement about its policies, present and future, in this matter as I would want to know them before booking tours on my next cruise.

 

This was a horrible accident plain and simple. No one is to blame except perhaps for the guide who may have made an error. Reports are conflicting but it does seem that is the case.

 

We rode that exact zip line, booked through NCL the day before this tragedy and felt perfectly safe. The guides were very, very careful about making sure your safefty clip was attached to something at all times, even when on the platforms.

 

I do not feel that NCL is responsible in any way for this horrible accident. Human error is human error and it is going to occur. We are not perfect, we are human.

 

When booking this tour, I knew nothing about zip lining and just assumed that all zip lines had 2 cables...the main one you zipped on and the separate safety cable. Not until I read about this accident did I realize that not all ziplines have the safety cable. As far as zip lining again, yes I would as I and the rest of our party loved it and felt secure at all times. I would not however, having done it one time, and now hearing of this accident ever do it without a safety cable. And knowing what I know now, I would be darned sure that cable was attached.

 

My heart aches for this lady and her grieving family. May God give them some sense of peace.

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Look at it this way, do you stop driving because there are about 43,000 fatalities from auto accidents a year, this is just in the USofA.

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I agree with the previous posters. My heart goes out to the family as well as everyone involved in and touched by this tragedy. Unfortunately, tragedies do happen in public places. Roller coasters, zip-lines, hot-air balloons, swimming pools and even highway overpasses have become deadly for various reasons. I would never downplay the loss of life in any tragic accident, but we should remember that they are accidents. I will still trust Cruise Line recommended adventure providers.

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My heart aches for this lady and her grieving family. May God give them some sense of peace.

I guess I'm gonna be in the minority here, at least according to the responses on the poll.

 

I say that we have to live life for all it's worth, and I applaud this lady and anyone else who is brave enough to try new and exciting things, like ziplining.

 

Of course, tragic accidents like this are not supposed to happen, but the sad fact is that they do ... and they always will ... no matter how careful or "safe" the operator is.

 

Ziplining, along with skydiving and bungee jumping and a host of other things are what are termed "high risk" sports. As such, no one should undertake them without a full understanding of exactly what high risk means. High risk precisely means that despite all precautions something can always go wrong. That something could involve serious, even life-altering, injuries and, yes, even death. If you can't accept that possibility, then you should step down before ever paying your money.

 

Believe me, I know from what I speak. For about eight years of my life I was a skydiver. I took the sport up at around the age of 40. I suffered a few minor injuries, bumps and bruises, but nothing serious for many years. I even had a parachute malfunction on one jump, so I can actually give an answer to the age old question "what do you do if your parachute doesn't open?"

 

In January of 1999 I took an extended weekend vacation to Florida for some wintertime jumping. On the last day of that extended weekend I botched a landing big time ... TWO broken femurs. I never expected my vacation to be extended another two weeks while I recovered from major surgery at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

 

Do I blame anyone for my accident? Sure, I blame myself. Do I regret it? Sure. I regret that I can no longer safely skydive because I have titanium rods and pins in both legs and because of my age, getting them removed is probably not practical since jumping actively again would also not be practical, so why bother?

 

Sure I wish the accident had never happened, but the fact is that it did. I knew that on any jump I could die or be seriously injured, even more seriously than I was ... serious as in confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life. When looked at from that vantage point, I guess I should be happy that my injuries, though severe, were not life-altering. I escaped my accident with my life and am still able to do almost everything I did before the accident, except for a bit more pain that I had before.

 

This lady, I am sure, was aware of the risks of what she was undertaking, just as I was always aware of the risks of my sport. I'm sure she was given waivers to sign and hopefully she read and understood them. She chose to proceed anyway despite the disclosed risks, and while thousands and thousands of people before her had a very successful and happy time ziplining, she was the unfortunate person who didn't. She paid with her life. But I'll tell you one thing ... she died doing something exciting and obviously enriching to her. How many of us will die in far less enjoyable circumstances, rotting from cancer eating away at our insides, or simply petering out from the ill effects of greatly advancing age.

 

I applaud this woman and her courage. I only hope her family can take comfort in the fact that she died quickly and in a manner while doing something that was probably far removed from her everyday life ... and was quite invigorating.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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It is certainly a tragedy that this young woman lost her life. However, no excursion is completely risk free. Simply climbing aboard a tour bus could result in serious injury or loss of life. People who elect to participate in the more adventurous activities found on a cruise are generally willing to accept the risk. I would hate to see all such activities closed down because of one failure. Our prayers are with the family and we hope that they will be at peace.

I agree with you wholeheartedly. I would hate to see these "higher risk" activities shut down because of this accident. However, to be totally honest, I have a feeling the cruise lines will back away from them now and no longer offer them as part of the shore excursion program sponsored by the cruise line.

 

I took a cruise on Holland America back in 2006 to Hawaii and the South Pacific. I remember being shocked on that cruise that no SCUBA diving excursions were offered through HAL. I asked a woman from the shore excursions desk about it and she told me that Holland America had decided that SCUBA was too risky and for that reason they apparently raised the required amount of liability insurance that had to be carried by the providers of this type of excursion. Since there were no SCUBA excursions offered, it would appear to me that none of their former operators found it worth the cruise line business to take on that much added insurance.

 

Of course, the cruise line not offering a particular excursion doesn't mean you can't take it. You just have to arrange it independently, like I arranged for my SCUBA dive with Top Dive in Bora Bora. The cruise line also didn't sponsor the tandem skydiving excursion I did on the North Shore in Oahu either, but that doesn't mean I didn't do it. :)

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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Look at it this way, do you stop driving because there are about 43,000 fatalities from auto accidents a year, this is just in the USofA.

 

My husband and two kids were about 20 people back in line from the woman who died on the zipline in Roatan. I was at Coral Cay with our younger kids. I've never been on a zipline, and now I'm sure I never will be. I drive my car to get to my job, go to the grocery store, etc - it's a risk with rewards that I consider necessary to my quality of life. The only reward from riding a zipline is the thrill. I don't fault those who find that reward to be worth the risk, but for me and my family, we'll be playing it a little safer. If my husband or I died on our way to work in a car accident, I'll know it was most likely an unavoidable accident. If he had died on that zipline that day (or one of my kids), I don't know how I would ever reconcile the fact that I signed them up for that excursion for their enjoyment and it ended up costing their life.

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Nothing is risk free. People die getting out of bed everyday(they trip and hit their heads)....its unfortunately true that everything has risks...even ziplines. BTW the person who says they sea do...many people are killed on those every year I remember when I was a kid you could go on trampolines almost every where....now you can hardly find them. Why lawsuits of course.....at least this tour had insurance. I feel very sorry for the family(as I do for the family of the women killed on a motor cycle last week in Bermuda)...but life goes on .

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I would probably do the zip line if I felt it to be safe. My brother did it on a cruise and said it was a blast, but he has also jumped out of a perfectly good airplane for nothing. lol

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In the wake of the recent death of a Norwegian Spirit passenger in a tragic fall from a Roatan zip-line canopy tour, it may be time to examine the merits of potentially risky shore excursions. Where do you stand on the issue? Are you a devout adrenaline junky or a disciple of safety-consciousness?
The question seems to me to be fundamentally flawed. Why is a zip line tour labelled as "potentially risky" just because an accident happened? Cruise ship passengers have also died in bus crashes, but nobody seems to regard them as "potentially risky" just because an accident has happened.

 

And why is an "adrenaline junky" activity regarded as the opposite of "safe"? The fact that something is scary and/or exciting has got nothing to do with whether there's any risk or danger in it at all.

 

So before attaching labels as a knee-jerk tabloid-newspaper reaction, why don't we first see if there's any evidence of risk or danger before stirring up hysteria?

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