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Cruise Line Stops Plantation Tours

April 17, 1999

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has suspended tours of a Jamaican banana plantation because of an accident in which a jitney flipped over and injured 22 tourists, two of them critically.

Brimmer Hall Estate, the plantation near the northwestern resort of Ocho Rios, said Wednesday’s accident was the first since it began the tours in 1973.

``We have never had a problem before with this operator, but we have to get to the bottom of this,″ cruise line spokesman Rick Steck said Friday.

The Miami-based company has sent an attorney and three inspectors to Jamaica to investigate why the tractor-drawn jitney rolled over as it gathered speed going down a hill. Twenty-five passengers were seated on wooden benches in the open-air vehicle.

Two of the less seriously injured tourists were being treated Friday at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, the Jamaican capital. One had a foot operation Wednesday night and the other was recovering from fractured ribs, hospital officials said.

Eighteen of the injured were flown by medical ambulance from the Caribbean island to Miami for treatment, cruise line and medical officials said. Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital said 13 were treated there. Most have been discharged, but two were in critical condition Friday. Loretta Walts, 54, of Amherst, Ohio, suffered back injuries, and Darren McNaughton, 28, of Elliottsburg, Penn., had surgery for internal injuries. It wasn’t clear where the other five were treated.

Most of the tourists were from the United States.

They were among 2,508 people on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas, which left Wednesday evening for George Town, capital of the Cayman Islands.

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