There were no serious injuries reported on Saturday, April 19, 2014, when a section of a pier in the island of Caye Caulker, Belize, broke and launched some people into the sea while they waited for a water taxi off the island during the end of their Easter break.
A portion of the San Pedro Belize Express (SPBE) Caye Caulker pier collapsed due to overwhelming overcrowding as passengers rushed to catch the next available boat off the island. The SPBE team, police, port authority and coast guard that were present during the busy weekend for the water taxi service made every effort to enforce safety and crowd control procedures to ensure passengers were boarded safely and appropriately on the vessels.
In a press release sent out by the water taxi company, it was explained that the SPBE team and relevant authorities requested that passengers wait on the beach to improve accessibility and ease the stress on the pier; however, this request was met with rebuttals as the crowds continued to move onto the pier against the directives of the authorities. As a result, a portion of the structure buckled under the pressure of the large crowd.
The water taxi company stated that it was using its complete fleet of 15 vessels, plus an additional two contracted catamarans to guarantee all its passengers would be accommodated for during the very busy Easter festivities.
“San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi takes this opportunity to express our sincerest apologies. SPBE truly values its passengers and is making every effort to fortify its ports and implement additional safety features to ensure this incident is not repeated,” stated the company in the press release.
“Our customers are our priority; San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi will always make every effort to ensure their safety, comfort and satisfaction.”
Fortunately, there were no serious injuries reported other than a few angry, upset and frustrated people.