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#301133 - 09/28/08 10:45 PM Cave tubing death
DonnaR Offline
One of the things I love to do when I visit SP is take a tour Cave tubing. I have gone 3 times and one of those times was with my 11 year old daughter. Never thought it would be dangerous, to be honest. I thought..guide..tubes..no worries. Then I read the attached and now I will be a little more careful when I go.

POSTED: 9:33 pm EDT September 28, 2008
UPDATED: 9:36 pm EDT September 28, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A Carnival cruise ship passenger from Orlando died this week while tubing through caves in Belize.

Linda Linan was scheduled to return home this weekend from a seven day Caribbean cruise. Instead, her family is arranging to bring her body home.

The 52-year-old nurse was reportedly healthy. She had even run a marathon recently, but the river was too much. Witnesses say the river she was tubing down was too full, the current was too strong, and that no one should have been in it in the first place.

While tubing through the dark caves in Belize, guests of the Carnival Glory cruise ship could only hear screams ahead.

“The guide just started screaming and yelling. There was a lot of yelling going on. Turn right, turn right.” A witness who didn’t want to be identified told Channel 9 he and his wife paddled hard and just narrowly missed the danger down stream.

“The river basically dead ended straight into a wall, and the current was pushing people against the wall, and tubes were going on top of people.”

That current pulled Linda Linan and her husband under water.

Another tourist on the trip rescued Eduardo, but Linda spent several minutes beneath the surface before anyone could reach her.

Witnesses say a nurse and a police officer along for the tour eventually performed CPR, but she never revived.

In a statement issued today, Carnival Cruise Lines said it has suspended all future sales of the cave tubing excursion and has launched an investigation into what happened.

We understand that the couple has three children that have all traveled to Belize to join their father. A neighbor told us she expected the family to return home sometime Sunday night.

Very very sad. Although I still believe its a GREAT trip, please please be careful.

#301153 - 09/29/08 01:36 AM Re: Cave tubing death [Re: DonnaR]
Short Offline
The problem is caused by the Cruise Ship Companies: they go for the company that gives the most kickback; not who is the most reliable. In this case it is very safe to say that the most capable tour company is Jaguar Paw - the caves through which the (public) river runs is on their property, so they know this area like no other.

The Cruise Ship Company prefers other tour guides who take more chances (thus able to give a higher commissions - and don't make yourself any illusions, it's by far no marginal commission) and that is when accidents occur. I know the situation there very well - although I don't live there - and in the past years there have been many near accidents by rookie companies that use the government facilities.

In this case the river was too high and too dangerous, and Jaguar Paw had canceled cave tubing, Belcruise didn't (they will probably operate under a different name soon). They took the risk (and the money) but lost a tourist. Make sure you always use a reputable tour guide!

The evidence:
Originally Posted By: channel5
Kendra Griffith
“Usually, is cave tubing dangerous?”

Fidelio Montes Jr.

“On a normal basis, no ma’am. I mean everybody goes in, we use our life jackets, we take proper procedures. I must say that it is one of the high risk tours around but this is the first time we ever encountered anything like this. When I say we, I mean just to clarify us from Jaguar Paw, we’re just assisting.”

The tour was conducted by Belcruise... and tonight there are concerns over safety.

Eduardo Linan
“They cancelled this specific trip a couple days ago because of the high water and today was not normal, it was a little higher than normal. However, it was decided to continue with the caving.”

The incident occurred on the footsteps of the Jaguar Paw Jungle Resort. Owner, Donna Young, says the resort cancelled its caving tubing tours due to concerns over the strong currents.

Donna Young, Owner, Jaguar Paw Jungle Resort
“The river was running a little bit too high, a little bit too dangerous for our liking. Since we live here, we monitor it everyday and the thing that happens is that people can leave Belize City and the river is very low and then within an hour depending on the water coming from the Maya mountains, it can rise several feet. And so the people get here and they think the river is okay and if they’re told don’t do it some are a little bit, I the to say greedy, but they’ll chance it.”

Live and let live

#301163 - 09/29/08 06:41 AM Re: Cave tubing death [Re: Short]
Otteralum Offline
sad. I too love the tour and never ever thought this would be an issue -- must have run it very low.
I will have a Belikin -- put it on klcman's tab.

#301165 - 09/29/08 08:45 AM Re: Cave tubing death [Re: Otteralum]
Barbara K Offline
Interesting, the BTB had recently (9/25) issued a statement about enforcing the safety regulations for cave tubing. When did this tragic incident happen?

BTB & NICH Enforces Safety Regulations for Cave Tubing Tours

--Belize City, Thursday, September 25th, 2008 – Members of the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and NICH have met to discuss ways in which they would be better able to equip tour guides and tour operators to exercise improved safety precautions when dealing with visitors who sign up for cave tubing adventures.

Recommendations agreed upon include:

1. Installation of signs regarding policies that must be adhered to when using the cave system for tours. This will not only advise the guides, but will also make tourists aware of the rules that must be followed whenever they are using the cave system.

2. Additional Tourism Police Presence in the area.

3. Periodical entrance to the caves will be implemented by the Institute of Archaeology.

4. Enforcement of approved Tour Guide Visitor Ratio

5. A Legislative review of existing Tour Guide and Tour Operator legislation to institute appropriate fines that will be levied on those who do not adhere to the regulations.

The BTB will also work with the Institute of Archaeology Department to begin training programs. All tour guides wishing to take tours in the cave system will have to complete a mandatory training course before November 2009. These include a 2-3 day theory course which will cover Caves and the Ancient Maya, Cave Safety, Cave Ethics, Cave Geology and Regulations for operating in caves and the penalties that will be levied if policies are not adhered to. A five day course will also be held to cover Swift Water Rescue, Advanced First Aid and Cave Rescue. This course consist of 14-16 hours daily field work and at the end of this training period, the Institute of Archaeology will police the tour guides as they do at the ATM Caves.

The Belize Tourism Board and NICH will hold a stakeholders meeting to inform tour operators about these new policies and to finalize appropriate implementation

For more information on the developments and events in Belize’s Tourism Industry, please contact the Marketing Department at the Belize Tourism Board at (501)-227-2420, via email: btbb@btl.net or visit our website www.belizetourism.org.


#301192 - 09/29/08 10:57 AM Re: Cave tubing death [Re: Barbara K]
Renee-md Offline
I have read good things about Major Tom and his cave tubing company. What do you all think?

#301193 - 09/29/08 11:03 AM Re: Cave tubing death [Re: Renee-md]
Peter Jones Offline
I went "cave tubing" with Caves Branch a few weeks ago. Water levels were low and there was little flow, and most of the time I was walking carrying my inner tube. To be honest I could have managed better without it, and just swum the couple of short spots where it was a bit deep to walk. But it was good fun, spoiled only by the young woman in the group who wore very little and complained after around 10 minutes (when we were too far from the start to go back for more clothes) of being cold. Eventually the tour was cut short as she said she was going to leave the group and go out by herself, something the guide obviously couldn't allow. I would say the temperature inside was mostly in the low 80's.

#301381 - 09/29/08 09:39 PM Re: Cave tubing death [Re: Peter Jones]
NYgal Offline
We went a couple years ago. The water was rushing and I almost lost Mr. NY. It was not at all funny. It is something I would never do again with high water!!

There was only 4 of us and two guides! They were in fear as well.

#301386 - 09/29/08 09:46 PM Re: Cave tubing death [Re: NYgal]
Peter Jones Offline
In that case they were either unable to gauge conditions, in which case they should not be in that business until they have further training, or they were reckless in recognising the conditions but going anyway. The first is a licensing issue - they should not be permitted to conduct these tours - and the second is debateably (?) one of criminal negligence.

#301400 - 09/29/08 10:18 PM Re: Cave tubing death [Re: Peter Jones]
klcman Offline
Simply the prime reason why I would ( and have numerous times)go caving/tubing exclusively with Ian.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman

#301402 - 09/29/08 10:22 PM Re: Cave tubing death [Re: klcman]
Leah-Ann Offline
us too - loved our trip! small group, experienced guides and great direction.
I can never remember which is better . . . safe? . . . or sorry?

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