Seaplane Crashes at PortMiami With Five Cruise Ships in Port

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Early in the afternoon of Friday, February 23, 2024, a single-engine seaplane overturned while landing and crashed at PortMiami with seven passengers aboard. Fortunately, no injuries were reported and local Miami-Dade Police Harbor Patrol boats were able to respond quickly, evacuating the passengers safely.

Traffic was backed up for some time near the cruise port, but no ship departures were impacted by the incident, which is now under investigation.

Seaplane Crashes at PortMiami

At approximately 1:40 p.m. on Friday, February 23, a single-engine Cessna 208 seaplane overturned while attempting to land at the Miami Seaplane Base on Watson Island at the west end of the cruise port’s main channel, near the turning basin. The plane came to rest partially submerged in the channel near the cruise ship terminals.

None of the seven passengers aboard the seaplane were injured and all were successfully rescued from the damaged seaplane by Miami-Dade Police Harbor Patrol boats and a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue boat. The emergency boats were able to respond quickly as they were already on hand for routine cruise ship security.

Flight tracking data confirms that the plane had departed Palm Beach International Airport, 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of Miami Seaplane Base, just after 1 p.m.

The circumstances of the crash are unknown, but the incident will be investigated by Miami-Dade Police, the Federal Administration Administration (FAA), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

No Cruise Ships Impacted

Five cruise ships were docked in PortMiami at the time of the crash: Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas; Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl; MSC Cruises’ MSC Magnifica; and Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Conquest. Explorer of the Seas and Carnival Conquest were closest to the crash site.

Cruise News Update
Cruise Ships at PortMiami, Florida (Photo Credit: Marcio.Duarte)

All the ships were on turnaround days, debarking guests from one sailing and taking aboard passengers for the next cruise.

While eastbound traffic along MacArthur Causeway was temporarily delayed and traffic to and from Miami Beach was diverted to accommodate rescue personnel, most traffic into the cruise port was unaffected.

Read Also: Florida Cruise Ports – Your Full Overview and Guide

Later in the afternoon, the seaplane was towed the short distance to a dock at Miami Seaplane Base, and work was underway to remove the plane from the water.

All five cruise ships were able to depart as scheduled, with no delays or changes to their itineraries anticipated due to the seaplane crash.

Freedom of the Seas, Carnival Conquest, MSC Magnifica, and Norwegian Pearl are all beginning three night weekend sailings. Carnival Conquest and Norwegian Pearl will be visiting Nassau, while Freedom of the Seas is visiting both Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay. MSC Magnifica is visiting Key West and MSC Ocean Cay Marine Reserve. All four ships will be back in Miami on Monday, February 26.

Explorer of the Seas is beginning a 9-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary, with visits to Amber Cove, St. Thomas, St. Johns, St. Maarten, and St. Kitts before the ship will return to Miami on Sunday, March 3.

No debris remains in the port channel and there should be no impact on any cruise ship through the weekend or into next week.

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