Fatal Vanuatu Bus Crash
Cruise injury lawyers Stacks Goudkamp have called for a thorough investigation into the cause of last night’s Vanuatu bus crash which has reportedly killed three locals and seriously injured at least 10 Australian tourists who were on a P&O cruise excursion.
Vanuatu is a popular pacific island destination for cruise ships departing from Australia. Last night’s tragic accident reportedly occurred in Port Vila, the country’s capital and home of the island’s cruise ship terminal.
It is understood that P&O vessel ‘Pacific Dawn’ was in port having departed Brisbane on cruise W627 on 14 June 2016. As is customary for cruise holidays, passengers had the opportunity to go on various shore excursions to explore the destination. The bus of Australian passengers was reportedly returning from a tour to the Ekasup Cultural Village when it collided head on with a local bus.
It is understood that the Australian cruise passengers sustained various injuries including head trauma and fractures. Air ambulances have been arranged to medically evacuate the most seriously injured Australians to medical centres in Noumea and Brisbane.
Expert cruise injury lawyers at Stacks Goudkamp represent Australians who have been injured on cruises around the world, including on shore excursions. Head of the Travel Law Practice Group, Victoria Roy, called on the local authorities in Vanuatu to conduct a thorough investigation of the crash. Ms Roy commented:
“After such a tragic crash, the first thoughts must go to the families of the deceased. Priority must also be given to ensure that those injured receive prompt medical treatment that meets their needs. I therefore welcome the efforts that have been made to evacuate the seriously injured Australians to medical centres across the region who are best equipped to deal with the high level of trauma”.
However in the aftermath of this tragedy, the cause of the crash must be thoroughly investigated and lessons learned to prevent future accidents. The cruise industry and tourism generally are of great economic importance for Vanuatu, and it is important to ensure that cruise passengers are safe when they go on shore excursions. Whilst the cause of this crash is currently undetermined, I am concerned by media reports that past P&O passengers have felt unsafe in tour buses whilst on shore excursions in Vanuatu. I therefore call upon the local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the crash and for P&O to monitor the safety of its third party tour providers”.
Stacks Goudkamp urges any cruise passengers injured either on ships or on shore excursions to seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible. The laws relating to accidents at sea and on shore excursions are complex. In many cases there are short deadlines to bring a claim, so it is important for injured passengers to act quickly once on home soil.