JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Carnival Ecstasy returned to Jacksonville on Thursday after its voyage to the Bahamas that took a fightening turn.
Multiple passengers were injured during a shore excursion when their tour bus was involved in a rollover accident Monday. The excursion bus contained 32 guests and was part of the Carnival Ecstasy five-day cruise that departed Jacksonville on Saturday.
According to Carnival Cruise Line, the people aboard that bus were treated at a local clinic. All but four were cleared to go back to the ship. Those four had to be airlifted to a hospital in South Florida. Three were seriously injured, with arm and leg fractures, internal injuries and possible paralysis, the Broward County rescue unit said. The fourth patient was in minor condition. The patients were conscious and talking to paramedics.
A spokesman with the U.S. Coast Guard told CNN that one of its helicopters, a Sikorsky SH-60/MH-60 Seahawk, transported the fifth injured person to Nassau's Doctors Hospital in Nassau, the Bahamian capital.
The Carnival Ecstasy docked at JaxPort shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday. News4Jax spoke with passengers who had heard about the bus crash. Passenger Michael Clemmons and his family found out after Carnival sent letters to all passengers on board.
“We were, like, 'Wait a minute. Let’s make sure it’s not one of us.' And then we got the letter about a couple people that were hurt. We weren’t really sure what fully happened, but we saw a couple of people with crutches and little braces," Clemmons said.
He said the incident made him think about what’s happening to travelers in the Dominican Republic, which he said is one of the reasons why he and his family kept things low-key on this trip.
“I’m just glad that we didn’t do no extra excursions or touring. So we just pretty much did our normal mode of walking around the city, shopping and then went back on," Clemmons said. "We just prayed for those who did get hurt and hopefully everything is OK now. I just hope they’re feeling better.”
Overall, Clemmons said, it was a great trip and he's already planning the next cruise.
Carnival Cruise Line released a new statement Thursday:
“Carnival Ecstasy returned to Jacksonville this morning following a five-day cruise during which a shore excursion bus was involved in an accident in Eleuthera (The Bahamas) on Monday.
"Members of Carnival’s CareTeam have been providing assistance and support to the impacted guests and their family members.
"No other vehicles were involved and the cause of the accident is being investigated. All excursions by the tour operator have been suspended.
"We would like to offer our apologies for those impacted by this accident. We appreciate and thank all those who assisted and treated our guests, including the first responders in Eleuthera, United States Coast Guard, Bahamian officials, Broward County Fire Rescue and medical professionals at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale and Doctor’s Hospital in Nassau. We are very grateful for their efforts.
"Carnival Ecstasy operates year-round four- and five-day cruises from Jacksonville."