Royal Caribbean passenger dies on kayaking excursion

In:
17Jul2012

A Royal Caribbean passenger traveling aboard Rhapsody of the Seas died while kayaking on Mendenhall Lake in Juneau, Alaska.

Michael Ray Fullerton, a 62-year-old man from Texas died late Sunday afternoon when his kayak overturned.  He was part of a group of kayakers who rented kayaks to tour the lake, which at the foot of Mendenhall Glacier.  

Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole said Fullerton apparently became fatigued and was unable to paddle.

“The group tied their kayaks together and it’s still unclear to us at this point how the kayaks overturned,” Cole said.

Others in the group also overturned, although they survived and were treated for hypothermia.

The equipment for the excursion was provided by Alaska Boat and Kayak in Auke Bay.  The group was not part of a guided trip but they were given a safety briefing before they loaded their kayaks and gear.

“They get questioned about how much paddle experience they’ve had, and then they get a thorough safety briefing that talks about self-rescue, using the bilge pump, paddle float, wearing the PFD and spray skirt, and how to work together and paddle as a group,” owner Sean Janes said.

Forest Service Supervisor Cole said the agency continues to investigate the accident.