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Horse-Drawn Carriage Accident

Horse spooked; surrey riders dumped in street

The Freeport News
Thursday, August 7, 2008
By JASMIN BONIMY, Guardian Staff Reporter, 

A surrey ride for a family of four visitors was cut short yesterday after the tourists were tossed into a busy downtown street by a spooked horse.

The visitors from Dallas, Texas, came to The Bahamas aboard a cruise ship and at the time of the accident they were touring the downtown area when a noise from a passing vehicle frightened the trained animal, police said.

"Around 9:30 a.m. information was received that the operator of surrey number one was travelling west along Shirley Street. Upon reaching the area of Charlotte Street, information was received that the horse was startled by a noise," said Corporal Charles Bastian, who was at the scene yesterday.

The traffic cop added that the frightened horse reared, causing the surrey driver to lose control and tossed from the carriage along with his passengers.

"The four tourists aboard for a ride were thrown from the vehicle and they received minor injuries about the body," said Corp. Bastian. "The most serious one of the injuries was received by a 15-year-old tourist from Dallas, Texas.

"She received a two-inch laceration above her left eye. All persons were taken to Princes Margaret Hospital to be examined by practitioners for their injuries."

Up to press time yesterday, an update on the family's condition had not been released.

However, it is understood that the Ministry of Tourism provides liability insurance and covers the surrey operator, horse and passengers' medical expenses.

When The Nassau Guardian arrived at the scene yesterday morning, the injured visitors and surrey driver had already been transported from the scene.

All that remained was a partially crushed carriage with a broken front wheel and red wooden debris scattered across Charlotte Street.

Police and witnesses said the spooked horse broke free of the carriage and ran toward Prince George Wharf area where he was eventually captured by several people in the area.

Other surrey drivers in the dock area remained tight-lipped about the accident but did admit that the horse was taken to a veterinarian.

Ministry of Tourism workers stationed at Prince George Wharf were unaware of the accident hours after it occurred and scrambled for information about the matter.

When The Guardian contacted senior director at the Ministry of Tourism, Geneva Cooper, yesterday evening, she said her department was aware of the incident and was awaiting information from police.

"We understand that the ambulance took some time to arrive on the scene," said Cooper. "The family was eventually taken to PMH but they asked to be taken back to the (cruise) ship to be treated by the doctor there."

Cooper said the tourism ministry desperately tried to contact the injured tourists before they left Bahamian shores.

"We are aware that sometimes accidents happen and we are doing everything we can to make sure they are okay and share our concerns with them," she said .   

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