Tourist Accidents

The 5 Worst Tourist Accidents of the 21st Century

Tourism in America is at an all time high during the summer months.  Tourism is defined mostly as a leisure activity that people do for entertainment or for educational purposes.  Tourist campaigns will often attract visitors by advertising “fun,” “relaxation,” “adventure,” and so on.  When participating in a tourist activity, the last thing you think of is something terrible happening.  Unfortunately, tourist accidents do occur.  There have been hundreds of tourist accidents over the years.  Some tourist accidents are less severe than other tourist accidents.  Below are the 5 worst tourist accidents of the 21st century.

Worst Tourist Accidents #1 | African Wild Dogs Attack Little Boy at Zoo

African Wild Dogs are the size of a medium domestic dog. They are sub-Saharan pack hunters with savage jaws, known for disemboweling their prey. On the morning of November 4th, 2012, 2 year old Maddock Derkosh was being held up by his mother on a railing outside the Pittsburgh Zoo’s Painted Dog Bush Camp. Tragically, his mother lost her grip.  Maddox slipped and fell some 10 feet from the top of a wooden railing into an enclosed exhibit below in 2012. He had bounced off a net meant to catch falling debris and trash, then into the exhibit.  He was immediately attacked from the head to his torso by at least 3 dogs.  Zoo workers were able to drive away most of the animals, but one of the dogs refused to leave the body and police were forced to open fire. Autopsy results indicated that Maddock survived the fall and was killed by the attack.The parents of the 2-year-old U.S. boy filed suit against the zoo, and eventually settled their lawsuit against the Pittsburgh zoo.  Attorneys for the boy’s parents, Jason and Elizabeth Derkosh, issued a joint statement Monday with the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

“The injuries and damages sustained by Maddox Derkosh, including Maddox Derkosh’s death, were caused solely by the carelessness, negligence, and/or recklessness of Elizabeth Derkosh,” the zoo’s attorney wrote in the court filing. She “knew or should have known he could fall into the exhibit” and failed “to maintain a proper grasp of Maddox Derkosh after lifting him over the railing.”

The parents’ attorney, Robert Mongeluzzi, said then that the zoo “failed miserably in their solemn responsibility to prevent the attack” and “shamelessly attacked Maddox’s grieving mother.”  “Details of the settlement will remain confidential. The Derkosh family and the zoo request that the privacy of all parties involved be respected,” the statement said.

Worst Tourist Accidents #2 | The Duck Boat Collision with a Cargo Ship

Ride the Ducks, which started operations in Philadelphia in 2003, is owned by Herschend Family Entertainment Co., which also owns Adventure Aquarium in Camden, N.J.  The Ride the Ducks tour starts on land in Philadelphia’s historic district and then enters the Delaware River.  On July 7, 2010 a group of tourists on the Ride the Ducks tour entered the Delaware River around 2:30 p.m.  Shortly after this, the outing went terribly wrong.  The Ride the Duck boat had a minor fire and the engine shut down, leaving the vessel adrift. It was then struck by a barge being powered by a tugboat.  The crash sent all 37 people on the duck boat into the river, but a 16 year old teenager and 20 year old young man did not resurface.  They both did not survive the accident.  The man and woman who died were Hungarians visiting the United States through a church exchange program.  In the minutes before the crash, Matthew Devlin, the captain of barge, repeatedly made and received calls on his cellphone, surfed the Internet for medical information and moved to a lower wheelhouse for more privacy.  As a result, he could not see the stalled Duck Boat.  Matthew Devlin pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 366 days in jail.  The families of the deceased filed a personal injury lawsuit against the tug operator K-Sea Transportation and duck boat operator Ride the Ducks over the accident that claimed their lives.  The families claim unclear safety policies and ineffective training and procedures caused the crash.  The families of two Hungarian students killed will split $15 million after a settlement was reached Wednesday, just days into a federal wrongful-death trial that had been expected to last a month.  Eighteen surviving passengers will share in $2 million in the deal, which was approved by a judge after two days of testimony.  Ride the Ducks offers tours in Philadelphia; San Francisco; Branson, Mo.; Stone Mountain, Ga.; and the Cincinnati area. The company suspended its Philadelphia tours after the accident but resumed them the following spring with a shortened water route.

Worst Tourist Accidents #3 | South Korea Ferry Carrying Hundreds of Students Sinks

Juniors in South Korea’s high schools have traditionally been granted a special outing or field trip before notoriously rigorous college entrance exams. On April 16, 2014, 450 passengers and 24 crew members boarded the MV Sewol.  339 students and teachers from Danwon High School set off for the holiday island of Jeju.  The teenagers boarded the Sewol ferry were ready to experience their national rite of passage for a holiday before exams.  This fun trip soon turned to horror.  Hours later, the South Korean ferry that they were traveling in, the MV Sewol, sunk.  The South Korean ship capsized while carrying 276 people, most of whom were students from Danwon High School.  It was South Korea’s worst maritime accident in 21 years in terms of lives lost.  304 people were killed, most of whom were students and teachers.  A vice principal who was rescued from the sinking South Korean ferry was found hanging from a tree as loved ones gathered at his school to post messages for hundreds of students missing in the disaster.  He suffered an immense amount of guilt because he was saved, and so many of the students were not.

On April 19th, the captain of the ferry was arrested on suspicion of negligence of duty , violation of maritime lawand other infringements.  The captain had abandoned the ship with passengers still aboard the ferry.  South Korean law explicitly requires captains to remain on the ship during a disaster.  Two other crew members, a helmsman and the third mate, were also arrested on that day on suspicion of negligence and manslaughter.  The mother of a student victim of South Korea’s ferry disaster was the first to file a lawsuit seeking damages from the government and the vessel’s owners.  The suit filed with the Seoul Central District Court claims 30 million won ($30,000) in compensation from the government and the Chonghaejin Marine Co., which owned and operated the ferry.

Worst Tourist Accidents #4 | MS Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Slowly Sinks, Kills over 30 people

MS Costa Concordia was a cruise ship built in 2004 in Italy and operated from 2005 to 2012 by Costa Crociere, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation.  On January 13, 2012 at around 9:45 p.m., in calm seas and overcast weather, under the command of Captain Francesco Schettino, Costa Concordia struck a rock in the Tyrrhenian Se.  The MS Costa Concordia was just off the eastern shore of Isola del Giglio on the western coast of Italy.  This tore a 160 ft gash on the left side of the ship, which soon flooded parts of the engine room and caused loss of power to her propulsion and electrical systems. With water flooding in, the ship rested on her right side in shallow waters.  Most of the right side of the ship was under water.  Despite the gradual sinking of the ship, its complete loss of power, and its proximity to shore in calm seas, an order to abandon ship was not issued until over an hour after the initial impact. Although international maritime law requires all passengers to be evacuated within 30 minutes of an order to abandon ship, the evacuation of Costa Concordia took over six hours and not all passengers were evacuated. Of the 3,229 passengers and 1,023 crew known to have been aboard, 32 people died.  A U.S. lawyer for compensation-seeking survivors of the Costa Concordia capsizing said Wednesday he will push for changes in maritime laws and technology to make the cruise ship industry safer.  John Arthur Eaves Jr. filed lawsuits against the Miami-based Carnival Corp.  The lawyer said his 70 clients will sue Carnival, including ones from the United States, Italy, Germany, Britain, Russia and Switzerland. He did not identify them by name.

Some relatives of victims have said they have been approached by Costa offering settlements of a few thousand dollars. Eaves called such sums “ridiculous by American standards” and said he hopes that much bigger settlements, triggered by lawsuits, will prompt the cruise industry to “spend more money on the front end to prevent accidents (rather) than paying money on the back end.”

He declined to say how much compensation his clients will seek, but said they range from among one survivor who lost $50,000 worth of designer gowns and dresses, to relatives of the dead or missing.

Worst Tourist Accidents #5 | FedEx Truck Hits Bus Carrying L.A. High Schoolers

In April, 10 people died after a Fed Ex semitrailer hit a bus full of students from Los Angeles area high schools on I-5 in Orland, California.  California Highway Patrol said the FedEx vehicle crossed a grassy median and then struck the bus, which then burst into flames.  Dozens were also injured.  A total of 48 people were on the bus: 44 students, three chaperones, and the driver.

One of the said that they were watching movies and listening to music when “I just heard this loud boom. We knew we were in major trouble.”

The students were going to visit Humboldt State University.  The University released a statement after the accident:   “Humboldt State University is deeply saddened by a tragic accident that occurred earlier this evening involving a charter bus filled with prospective students. They were on their way to visit campus for the April 11 Spring Preview event.”

According to the LA Times, several Fed Ex accident lawsuits have been filed by the families of the teens who were killed or injured in the horrific crash. The personal injury attorneys at Wright & Schulte LLC also learned that the wrongful death lawsuit was filed against FedEx, Silverado Stages and several other companies involved in the deadly accident.


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