An elderly passenger aboard a Holland America ship sailing in the South Pacific has died after a fall while moving between a smaller boat and a platform, according to the line.
The unnamed, 70-year-old woman fell into the water on Nov. 7 from a tender platform on the 1,258-passenger Maasdam during a tendering operation at the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. The ship was just off the Rarotonga settlement of Avatiu at the time.
The use of small boats called tenders to move passengers from ship to shore is common in the cruise industry.
In a statement sent to USA TODAY, Holland America said the woman quickly was pulled from the water conscious but lost consciousness soon thereafter and could not be revived by Maasdam’s medical staff.
Holland American said the cause of the fall is unknown and being investigated by local authorities. The line’s Care Team counselors are assisting the woman’s family, it added.
“We are saddened by this event, and our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones,” Holland America said in the statement.
Maasdam was in the midst of a two-week French Polynesia cruise out of Papeete, Tahiti at the time of the incident.
Millions of cruisers are tendered to shore from cruise ships every year without incident.
Still, there have been a few serious accidents involving tenders and tender platforms over the years, most recently in 2015 when a passenger on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth died after a fall during a tendering operation.