Cruise Ship

P&O Arvia

Incident Type

Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards (Flight Diversion due to Turbulence)

Date of Accident

December 24, 2023

Location of Accident

En route from Bridgetown, Barbados, to Manchester, England

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Introduction

On Christmas Eve, December 24, 2023, passengers from P&O’s cruise ship Arvia, returning home on a charter flight operated by Malta’s Maleth Aero, encountered severe turbulence en route from Bridgetown, Barbados, to Manchester, England. The unexpected turbulence led to injuries among 11 passengers and necessitated an unplanned diversion to Bermuda’s L.F. Wade International Airport.

Details of the Incident

The intense turbulence during the flight caused injuries to 11 of the 238 passengers (225 cruisers plus 13 crew members) aboard. The flight was specifically chartered by P&O UK to transport cruisers from the Caribbean back to the UK for the holiday season. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in an extended stay in Bermuda, covering Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and much of Boxing Day.

The injured were only among the cruise travelers, with no crew members affected. Due to the circumstances, the passengers were accommodated in local hotels in Bermuda while awaiting a replacement aircraft. The return journey to the UK eventually resumed in the early hours of December 27th.

Operational Context

The charter flight was part of the return journey for guests concluding P&O Arvia’s 14-day “Caribbean Cruise.” The itinerary, running from December 9 to 23, included stops at various island destinations such as Tortola, La Romana, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Kitts, Martinique, and St. Lucia. The turbulent flight experience added an unexpected and challenging end to the cruisers’ holiday voyage.

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