In a heart-wrenching incident, a Navy veteran and local nurse from Norfolk, Virginia, lost their lives in a motorcycle accident during an offshore excursion from their cruise ship, Norwegian Sky.
Vacation Turned Tragedy
A Norfolk, Virginia, couple’s dream vacation aboard the 2,000-passenger Norwegian Sky turned tragic with a fatal motorcycle accident in Cozumel. Robert Baker, 72, a respected Navy veteran, and Diane Baker, 62, a dedicated nurse at Sentara Lehigh Hospital in Norfolk, began their “5 Night Caribbean: Great Stirrup Cay & Cozumel” cruise from Miami on January 21, only to meet unforeseen tragedy.
Arriving on the island famed for its picturesque landscapes off Cancun on January 23, the couple seized the opportunity to explore the island on a rented motorcycle.
However, as reported by Norfolk news affiliate 10Wavy.com, while traveling along Cozumel’s Southern Coastal Highway, the Bakers’ motorcycle veered off the road, plunging both passengers and the vehicle into thick roadside vegetation.
Road in Cozumel, Mexico (Photo Credit: Javier Garcia)
The accident, which occurred during daylight, sadly went unnoticed for hours. It was not until Tuesday night that a passing motorist spotted the crashed motorcycle and the Bakers.
It is believed that the couple was in the process of returning the motorcycle to catch their cruise ship, which was scheduled to depart at 5 p.m., when the accident occurred. The exact time of the crash remains unknown.
The Risks of Vehicle Rentals in Foreign Locales
This incident adds to a growing list of accidents involving American tourists in Cozumel. Regrettably, another American, Terry “B,” described as being 55 to 60 years of age, lost his life in an ATV accident during a cruise ship excursion on the island on the very same day. The group was only about 1 kilometer into their ride when the event happened.
Similarly, in September 2023, a distressing incident occurred involving two American passengers from Carnival Paradise. During an excursion purchased separately from their cruise ship, Natalia and Ashley Ortega were involved in a serious scooter accident. Unfortunately, the ship left port unaware of their situation, leaving the passengers behind.
It was only after the ship’s departure that the sisters’ mother was contacted, informing her that her daughters had not returned to the ship. Subsequently, it was discovered that the women were receiving care for their injuries in a private hospital.
Photo Credit: PQK / Shutterstock
These incidents underscore the dangers associated with renting vehicles in unfamiliar territories, especially during vacation excursions. In fact, cruise lines, such as Carnival Cruise Line, strongly advise against renting motor vehicles from non-approved vendors in ports of call due to less stringent regulations compared to the U.S.
The variable conditions of vehicles and roads, coupled with relaxed enforcement of local traffic laws, significantly increase the risk of accidents.
Passengers are advised to assess their own experience and comfort level with different modes of transport. Moreover, wearing safety gear like helmets and protective clothing is important.
Navigating the Aftermath of Overseas Incidents
These incidents also regrettably highlight the complexities families face when dealing with accidents abroad. Sam Eisenhuth, the Bakers’ son, faced challenges in seeking information about his parents’ accident through the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.
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Similarly, the Ortega family was burdened with staggering medical bills, reportedly as high as $20,000.
The Bakers, remembered as active members of the Real Life Christian Church in Chesapeake, Virginia, will be honored in a Celebration of Life service on February 2 at 6:30 p.m. During this difficult time, our thoughts at Cruise Hive are with their family.
Appeared first on: Cruisehive.com