GradCity has suspended all snorkeling cruises for students traveling to Cancun, Mexico for the remainder of their travel season. The company made the decision following a snorkeling accident which took the life of Lisa Chung, a high school student from Grand Prairie, Texas.
This incident occurred on Saturday, June 7, during which a catamaran operated by a local company took on water, forcing all passengers, 120 of which traveled with GradCity, to evacuate the boat and swim to shore or accept the aid of rescue vessels. The passengers were on a routine snorkeling excursion off the coast of Cancun when the incident occurred. Several passengers were injured in the incident, including Lisa Chung, who died on Tuesday afternoon.
“Our entire team is deeply affected by this incident, and we are staying in close contact with Lisa’s mother to help in any way. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lisa’s family and friends,” said Jason Chute, director of operations for GradCity. “We are conducting an independent investigation and working with local authorities to investigate the series of events that led to the partial sinking of the catamaran. All snorkeling cruises booked through GradCity in Cancun will be suspended until the local authorities, as well as our own independent investigation, provides us with the facts surrounding this tragic incident.”
The local cruise operator, Servicios Maritimos y Acuaticos del Caribe s.a. de C.V. is registered with the Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes. The capacity of the vessel, Sea Star, far exceeded the number on board. On the day of the partial sinking, passengers boarded the boat at approximately 12:00 p.m. and traveled just off the shore line to snorkel.
Since 1987, GradCity professionals have arranged and hosted thousands of students and parents on tours to the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada and various destinations in the United States. The company works with parents, authorities in various countries and travel destinations, and students themselves to promote safe traveling. In 2007, the company launched its Break Smart program, a campaign committed to helping students make responsible decisions before, during, and after their travels and with the help of their parents.