A volcanic eruption Monday on White Island in New Zealand killed at least six people, left eight others presumed dead and injured many more, leaving police questioning why 47 people – including Royal Caribbean cruise passengers – were on the island that had seen an increase in seismic activity in recent weeks.
“We are devastated by today’s events and our hearts go out to all those affected by this tragedy,” Royal Caribbean said in a Monday statement. Several passengers from the Ovation of the Seas ship, which was at the nearby Tauranga port, were touring the island at the time of the 2 p.m. eruption.
The incident raises the question of whether the cruise company is liable for injuries to passengers who were on White Island at the time. No current shore excursions to the island are listed on Royal Caribbean’s website, though there are excursions listed in the Tauranga area. A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean told USA TODAY the line could not offer information on excursions to White Island