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Tourists killed in Mauritius Island: the hotel offered diving excursions without permits

Who will be accountable for this tragedy?


On Monday February 23rd, 2015, two French tourists died while they were snorkeling in a lagoon in Mauritius. Hit by a recreational boat, they were killed instantly. An investigation has been opened to determine the accountability of the parties involved: the skipper, but also the hotel that offered diving excursion without the required authorizations, according to the local press. Then, should be determined the seller’s responsibility if it applies.



The couple and their daughter were staying at the Maritim Crystals Beach Hotel according to a local news source - DR : Crystals Beach Hotels
The couple and their daughter were staying at the Maritim Crystals Beach Hotel according to a local news source - DR : Crystals Beach Hotels
The Belle-Mare lagoon, on Mauritius was the theater of a tragedy on Monday, February 23rd, 2015.

Two French tourists, around forty years old, who went snorkeling were fatally injured by a speed boat.

“We are appalled and saddened by this tragic accident,” declared Xavier-Luc Duval, Deputy First Minister, Minister Tourism and Exterior Communications of Mauritius.

Mauritius is known as one of the world’s safest destinations, thanks to the security that our tourists enjoy. We’ll do everything possible to keep it that way. The police has launched a complete investigation to determine who is responsible.”

One man in particular is targeted by the investigation, according to Le Mauricien. He is the main suspect, Curtis Rezena, placed in detention even though he claims to be innocent.

On that day, the 48 year old skipper, was transporting another French couple who “confirm the skipper’s version of the story and support that the boat did not navigate where the accident took place,” according to the website Defi Media.

Another troubling element of this event is that the investigators of the Scene of Crime Office (SOCO) “solicited the backing of the State Law Office (SLO) in view of determining the accountability of the Crystal Beach hotel (where the couple was staying) in the accident,” reveals Le Mauricien.

According to the local news sources, the establishment did not have the authorization required to offer scuba diving excursions to its clients.

“Sanctions should be put in place against this hotel located on the East Coast, starting with a fine to the establishment for this offense.”

Who is responsible in this affair?

Despite our research, we were unable to determine if the victims had bought their trip through a travel agency.

If that were the case, the question of the seller’s responsibility needs to be posed.

“Everything will depend on the manner in which the couple reserved this fatal snorkeling activity, explains Ms. Emmanuelle Llop (Equinoxe Avocats), lawyer of the Paris Bar, specialized in tourism.

“If the trip and excursion were sold by a travel agency, the prosecutions and question of liabilities will logically point towards the agency,” she explains.

The agency could be judged accountable for the accident for carelessness in the choice and monitoring of the service provider.

“For this type of accident with death, the victims’ family, inheritors, and beneficiaries can claim damages to repair the prejudice they have suffered ‘by extension’”, pursues Ms. Llop.

However, in the event that the travelers would have purchased their trip through an agency but then reserved the service once on location through the hotel or private business, the response is not as clear-cut.

In that case, it would be necessary to determine if the agency directly or indirectly promoted the activity or service provider in order to establish a link or consider the agency accountable.

If the tourists decided to purchase the activity on location, with no link to the agency, then it was their own initiative and the agency does not have to worry.

Written by Anaïs BORIOS et Pierre CORONAS translated by Joséphine Foucher the 01/03/2015
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1.Posté par deelee le 02/03/2015 08:33 | Alerter
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Hi there,
what a tragedy :( especially leaving a child behind.
Can something not be worn by snorkelling guests that sticks out the water with a brightly coloured flag on it? somethng should be done to make divers more visible to boats - whoevers fault it was, it wont bring that poor couple back. i dont think that simple buoys are enough, especially when you have your face in the water and distracted by what ever you are seeing under it. My brother was snorkelling in close proximity and heard the couple get hit by the boat while he was underwater - very traumatic to witness i am sure. I hope some procedures are put in place to avoid future incidents like this.

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