COSTA MAYA, MEXICO (CBSMiami) – It was a horrifying scene on a road near Costa Maya, Mexico where a tour bus overturned killing 12 people and hurting 18 others.
“When we went by it…it was pretty horrible,” said Carrie Vanrenterghem. The bus, the front windshield was entirely out, like some people had gone thru it.
Vanrenterghem was traveling with her daughters on a different bus and stopped at the crash scene.
“We were just traveling like we were for a couple of days. It’s just hard to imagine that their lives are gone,” said Vanrenterghem.
The passengers were from the Celebrity Equinox that left Port Miami last Saturday and Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the seas that sailed from Port Everglades Friday.
On Tuesday morning, they were heading to the Mayan Ruins when their bus flipped over.
Local reports suggest the bus went off the pavement on the two-lane road and that when the driver tried to get back on the pavement it turned over.
One of the ship’s captains addressed passengers on board, informing travelers of the injuries and fatalities.
“We think it is also important for us, for all of us here on the ship to look out for each other and to be extra caring and considerate,” said the captain.
CBS Radio Reporter Scott Mayman was on board the Equinox. He described a grim scene on board.
“It is an absolute tragedy. There were very emotional scenes on board the ship this afternoon as everybody re-boarded the vessel wondering what was going on,” said Mayman.
CBS News reports one of the dead was a 78-year-old grandmother from Coconut Creek. She was traveling with four family members. At last report, two were injured and two others were unaccounted for.
Royal Caribbean is the parent company for both ships. They put out a statement saying, “Our hearts go out to all those involved in the bus accident in Costa Maya. We are doing all we can to care for our guests, including assisting with medical care and transportation.”
The nationalities of all those who were killed in the crash is unknown at this time.
The injured are being treated in local hospitals but since the ships have left port, it is unclear how they’ll get home if and when they recover.
As for the driver of the bus, a Mexican state prosecutor told CBS News Reporter Manuel Bojorquez that he does not know where the driver is – if he’s in a hospital or got away. This after Quintana Roo tourism officials said the driver was injured and in custody.