Eleven cruise ship passengers were injured Tuesday morning when a Gastineau Guiding tour bus rolled in the rain over an embankment near Last Chance Basin.
Almost all of the people had crawled out of the bus when ambulances arrived, nine minutes after the call came in at 8:16 a.m., Mohrmann said. One person, however, had to be lifted out with a basket-like device. The bus had flipped on its side and was against two trees.
Two people sustained serious injuries, while the other nine suffered from “bumps and bruises,” said Chief Eric Mohrmann of Capital City Fire and Rescue. One person remained at Bartlett Regional Hospital in stable condition with a chest injury late Tuesday, according to Dawn Wolfe, a co-owner of Gastineau Guiding.
All of the other injured people were treated and released, Wolfe said. Privacy laws prevented Mohrmannfrom giving out any more information about their conditions.
“We’re thankful there were no life-threatening injuries,” Wolfe said. All 15 tourists on the bus were from the Celebrity Cruises ship Summit, which was in port from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday.
The bus driver was attempting to drive around a pothole at about 8:10 a.m. and drove too close to the road’s shoulder, Juneau Police Sgt. Steve Christensen said. A front tire went over the embankment and the bus slid down the slope and over on its side.
As the school-style bus was towed from the scene late Tuesday morning by tow-truck operators, damage was visible near the door opposite the driver’s seat and at the rear of the bus. Police cited the driver, 60-year-old Gary Clement, on a charge of reckless driving, Christensen said.
The Summit cruise started in Seward on Sunday, Tesar said. Celebrity Cruises will arrange to have the passengers reconnect with the cruise or return them home.
Although the accident took place on the tour bus rather than the cruise ship itself, the cruise line is ultimately liable for the medical expenses incurred by the injured passengers. When a passenger is injured during the course of a cruise, that passenger must first report their claim with the cruise line before pursuing any additional legal action.