A gangway collapsed while a Norwegian Cruise Line ship was stopped in Panama on Tuesday, injuring multiple guests.
The line’s Norwegian Encore ship was in Panama City at the time. Passengers who sustained injuries were taken to a nearby medical facility, a spokesperson for the cruise line told USA TODAY in an emailed statement. “We have dispatched our CARE Team to Panama City to offer additional support to these guests,” the spokesperson said.
The cruise line did not specify how many guests were injured, how severe their injuries were, or provide a reason for the collapse. Norwegian Encore is currently on a 21-day Panama Canal cruise from Seattle to Miami.
The ship will arrive in Miami on Sunday.
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How common is a cruise ship gangway collapse?
Ross Klein, a cruise industry expert and a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, said that this kind of incident is uncommon. “It’s not unheard of, but it certainly isn’t something that happens with any frequency at all,” he said.
A passenger on an MSC Cruises ship was rescued in 2009 after falling into the water following a gangway collapse, and more than a dozen people were killed in a similar incident on a gangway leading to Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 in 2003.
More common, Klein said, is for passengers to fall over the side of the gangway, though he noted that does not happen often, either. “From a passenger perspective, one should always be using caution no matter where they are on a cruise ship or off,” Klein said. “That may minimize some of the risk, at least.”