When summer comes, vacations call and the best thing you hope for is to go and enjoy the sun with no mishaps. It doesn’t always go according to plan though and in most cases, vacations that don’t end well have very little to do with what you did. From zip lines that fell while tourists were in the middle of a ride to hotel rooms infested with deadly bed bugs; there is no way of predicting what may go wrong during a vacation. Here are the 10 shocking vacation disasters that made headlines in recent years.
Jungle cruise boat sinks
Jungle Cruise is the one thing no tourist wants to miss in Disney world and it has been the centre of attraction in the Magical World since 1971. The fan favourite cruise has had its fair share of troubles recently with some fans getting the scare of a lifetime when a boat malfunctioned in April 2022 causing the cruise to be shut down plunging everyone into darkness.
The 2022 incident came just over two years after another boat took on water in February 2020 leaving vacationers in knee-high water with lots of scared parents and children on board. The 2020 incident happened just months before the release of the Jungle Cruise movie by Disney and some people said it was staged to advertise the film. Even if it was staged, that sure was a bad way to spoil a vacation in the Magical World.
Mistaken for an international criminal
Having a common name like Tony Smith also means you shouldn’t go on vacation too far away from home because you could have so many namesakes with criminal records. In 2019, a 66-year-old man named Tony Smith from West Sussex, UK was on a flight with his wife Carole for a vacation in Cancun, Mexico. When they arrived, the man was immediately detained, his photograph and fingerprints taken and then locked up in a cell for three days.
The distraught wife called the British consulate and tried some lawyers for help but received none because apparently, Tony was on the list of wanted criminals in the US and although he was arrested, he was technically not arrested according to Mexico. The vacation was cut short as the poor man was deported after his three days in hell. He later learned that it was a case of mistaken identity and that the real Tony Smiths had a different birth date from his. He is probably never flying of Central and North America again.
The Honduras zipline disaster
In July 2018, an Israeli couple was ziplining on Roatan in Honduras’ Bay Islands when the tragedy struck. They were travelling on the Royal Caribbean cruise for their honeymoon when they decided to zipline in the treetops. The wife got stuck midway along the zipline causing the husband to crash into her. The man is believed to have suffered a brain haemorrhage as a result of the incident while the wife also suffered serious injuries and was flown to the US for surgery. The man succumbed to his injuries but sadly, no one was prosecuted for the negligence of the organization that ran the ziplines.
9 year old vs a shark in Florida
The coast of Florida is one of the best places to go surfing and swimming in the US but shark attacks have significantly increased in recent years. In March 2021, a 9-year-old boy from Minnesota became the victim. Little Jay had come to Miami with his parents for the weekend and was only in the water for 10 minutes before the shark attacked him. It bit off a chunk of the boy’s shoulder and only his mother’s bravery saved him from further injury. Apart from concerns about infections and his mobility, doctors were confident he would make a full recovery though.
$400,000 in medical bills for volunteering on a magic show
Vegas is another dream holiday and the one thing you wouldn’t wanna miss after a night of gambling is a David Copperfield magic show. In 2013, Gavin Cox was selected to volunteer for one of the famed magician’s tricks at the MGM Grand Resort. The act involved disappearing from the elevated stage and then reappearing underneath it but in reality, the volunteers had to run like hell through a series of backstage doors before showing up at the expected venue.
Cox slipped while following the directions of Copperfield’s backstage crew and fell suffering multiple broken bones and brain damage. He had to pay the astronomical medical bills from pocket. He sued MGM and Copperfield but in 2018, the court ruled that they were not liable for his injuries adding a salty taste to the vacation disaster.
The Fyre Fraud
The fraud happened back in 2017 but most of the ticket holders are still filing lawsuits against the organizers because it was a total disaster. The festival was advertised by Fyre Media, a company owned by the now jailed fraudster Billy McFarland. He had partnered with the rapper Ja Rule to advertise the said event as an immersion music festival on a private island in the Bahamas. The event that promised the experience of a lifetime was advertised by celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Ja Rule himself.
With over 5,000 people subscribing, the tickets sold out in less than 48 hours. When the party-goers arrived on the island in April 2017, they were shocked to find the luxury villas and a classy holiday setting missing. All they had were refugee relief tents and rained-on mattresses for beddings. The rumoured Bahamian cuisine of roasted pig, seafood and Bahamian sushi didn’t exist and all they got were stale cheese sandwiches. The saga that unravelled after the scam saw festival goers suing the organizers and Billy McFarland jailed to six years in jail for fraud.
Kidnapped while hunting for a wedding venue
In 2018 Frank and Jennifer Massabki gave a story to the media that caused the US state department to re-issue warnings to Americans travelling to Mexico. The newly engaged couple flew to Mexico City to find a venue for their wedding. While driving in their rented car, they were hit from behind by another driver, and upon coming down to talk to the driver and examine the damage, they were attacked by armed men and kidnapped.
They went through hours of hell as the kidnappers attempted to rape Jennifer and beat the couple senseless. Luckily, both of them were fluent in Spanish and when the kidnappers locked them up in a second location after demanding ransom, the couple escaped and found Police who helped them get their way back to the US.
$11,000 five-star accommodation nightmare in Jamaica
Jamaica is one of the most popular Caribbean tourist destinations for most tourists but it also happens to be one of the most crime-prone countries in the region. Anything can go wrong in Jamaica if you leave the safety of your resort, but as one family found out in 2019, you rarely have to leave the hotel to meet trouble. After the family booked their luxury accommodation online, they arrived to find themselves in a less-than-one-star hotel in a room full of roaches and stained bedsheets. Their children who were minors were almost tricked into taking illegal narcotics at the pool. The hotel also sounded like a construction site with jackhammers sounding all night and people twerking to loud rap music in front of their room all day. There was no compensation offered after the nightmare even after the family watched the star rating of the hotel drop while they were already checked in.
The tour bus road rage
Sightseeing in Paris is best done on a hop-on hop-off double-decker tour bus but you don’t expect your driver to kill someone while you are sightseeing in their bus. The incident happened in 2019 on a bus that had just left The Louvre and accidentally hit a car. The car driver got out and started an altercation with the tour bus driver which soon got physical. The tour bus driver then entered the bus and hit the car driver squeezing him against another bus and killing him instantly as his shocked passengers watched. That must have been the worst Paris trip for the poor souls.
Maggots in the scalp
When you come from a vacation, you expect to bring some souvenirs and good memories but that is not always the case. A British woman came back from vacation in Argentina with a headache and swellings on her neck and scalp just above the left ear. She was misdiagnosed for about three weeks as doctors just gave her antibiotics telling her the pain and swellings would go away. When they finally got it right, they found human botfly maggots under her scalp but that only came after seven weeks of unbearable pain.
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