Date:  March 22, 2006
Cruise Bruise: Bus Accident
Deaths: 12 Americans
Injuries: 2 Americans 2 Chileans
Location: Arica, Chile - 1250 miles north of Santiago
Cruise Line: Celebrity Cruise Lines
Ship:  Millennium

The crash occurred about 4:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. ET).

The tourists were among about 1, 536 passengers and 920 crew members from the Celebrity Cruises liner Millennium, docked in Arica, a pacific port city in northern Chile.

They were on a two week cruise, that departed on a 14 night South American cruise from Valparaiso, Chile, on March 19, and was due back April 2 in  Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The 16 passengers on the bus had booked a tour to visit Lauca National Park at elevation 13,000 feet. The victims were all in their 60s and 70s. Chilean government and the cruise line distanced themselves from the operator of the tour bus, saying Andino Tours wasn't among the agencies it authorizes to run side trips for passengers.

The was crash along a rugged, very curvy  highway near the Pacific port city of Arica, 1,250 miles north of Santiago.

There were 14 Americans, the Chilean bus driver, and the Chilean tour guide on the bus. Both the bus driver and tour guide survived. Initially 11 died at the scene, but one American transported to the hospital, later died. The remain four are in serious condition as of this posting.

The bus was returning to the ship from a national park near the Bolivian border, 28 miles northeast of Arica on the road to the Bolivian capital city of La Paz,  when it swerved off the highway and into a 260 foot canyon, when the driver swerved to avoid an approaching truck, resulting in the bus being totally destroyed.

The injured American tourists were taken to the Arica Juan Noe Hospital.

The Millennium was docked in Arica, and the cruise line said the ship will remain there until further notice. It had been scheduled to leave for Peru early March 23, 2006.

A doctor and nurse were sent from the ship to help tend to the injured. The cruise line said it was flying family members of victims to Chile and sending a special assistance team to the ship to help its guests and crew.

“We continue to work with Chilean authorities and the U.S. Consulate in Santiago to assist our injured guests and the family members of those who died in this tragic accident,” said Dan Hanrahan, president of Celebrity Cruises.

The passenger listed to date were:

Married Couple
DIED: Hans Wilhelm Otto Eggers, 72 New Jersey
DIED:Maria Eggers, 71 New Jersey

Married Couple
DIED:  Barbara Rubin, 69 New Jersey
DIED: Robert Rubin, 72 New Jersey

Married Couple
DIED: Arthur Joseph Kovar, 67 New Jersey
DIED: Frieda Kovar, 74, New Jersey

Married Couple
DIED:  Carole Ellen Ruchelman, 63 New Jersey
SURVIVED: Harold Ruchelman New Jersey

Married Couple
DIED: Marian Diamond, 76, New Jersey
SURVIVED: Bernard Diamond, 66 New Jersey

Married Couple
DIED: Linda Gail Greenfield, 63, Connecticut
DIED: Ira Arvey Greenfield, 68,  Connecticut

Married Couple
DIED:  Marvin Bier, 79,  New Jersey
DIED:  Shirley Bier, 76, New Jersey

There were 64 people on the cruise ship Millennium who live in The Ponds, a senior apartment complex in Monroe Township in New Jersey, who are also members of B'nai B'rith. Eight of the 12 people killed were from that B'nai B'rith chapter
12 Cruise Ship Passengers Die In Crash
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines - Celebrity - Millennium
Arica, Chile - March 22, 2006
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