David Potts was 44 years old with a fiancée and a baby. The couple’s trip to Maui would be their last big hurrah before she would undergo the double mastectomy designed to save her life. While visiting one of the island’s better known natural tourist attractions, the geyser-like Nakalele Blowhole, Potts was knocked into the ocean by a freak wave. In an instant, David Potts was gone. His body never to be found.
When it happened, I was only a few miles down the coast from the spot where David Potts lost his life. As the story of a man dying tragically in an instant while enjoying his vacation splashed news sites in Hawaii and around the globe, I became haunted by a terrible thought:
It could have been me.
When I got home, I began looking into vacation tragedies and I have to tell you I was absolutely stunned by what I discovered. For example, did you know that over 170 people have vanished without a trace from cruise ships since 1995? I’m not talking about obvious drunken stumbles off the promenade deck into the ocean’s cold embrace. I mean dozens of unsolved and highly suspicious cases including one where a woman’s beaded purse was found ripped and a ship’s map had been deliberately taped over the lens of the nearest security camera.
Even more alarming are those horrific vacation tragedy incidents involving children whose lives are senselessly stolen, killed due to resort negligence and seemingly-preventable causes, like the 12 year old boy who was sucked into an unprotected twelve inch wide drainage pipe at a major Cancun hotel’s snorkeling lagoon, his body folded in half by the immense suction. Or the 5 year old girl improperly given CPR by poorly trained Atlantis resort lifeguards in an incident suspected of causing her death.
By revealing these all-too-true stories to you, I am not trying to do for vacations what “Jaws” did for beaches. The incidents I discovered, especially those involving children of all ages, ended up becoming the basis for my latest non-fiction book, “Fatal Sunset: Deadly Vacations.” Simply put, “Fatal Sunset” is made up of true cautionary tales. It is filled with lessons for those willing to better understand how to identify, and hopefully avoid, similar tragic circumstances.
Researching and writing this book has helped me understand that recognition of certain circumstances while traveling can often be the difference between life and death. This is exactly why my new motto, thanks to this book, has become, “Dare to be aware” and why I would like to leave you with the top 10 list of Dare to Be Aware travel tips.
- Tip 1: Never assume you have the same rights, protections and access to emergency services in other countries as you do in your own
- Tip 2: Take the time to check out any attractions your children may use before you leave them unsupervised
- Tip 3: Always let someone know where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone. If you’re on a trip, make sure someone in your party knows when you’ll be back and check in with them if those plans change
- Tip 4: Don’t assume that video cameras are there to protect you – They are only there to protect the interests of the property owners who may have a different agenda when it comes to revealing what those cameras have seen
- Tip 5: Just because there isn’t a warning sign, doesn’t mean there isn’t danger – Use your common sense and/or double check your plans with someone who knows the lay of the land
- Tip 6: Do your research – Any reputable company offering trips, excursions, tours will have a digital footprint on the Internet. Use Google to search for reviews before you use them
- Tip 7: Be suspicious of anyone who takes too much interest in you or your family – If someone you really don’t know invites you to join them in an excursion somewhere, don’t be afraid to turn them down. There are worse things than offending someone who you will probably never see again
- Tip 8: If going out of the country, check for government issued travel advisories for your destination. If the state department says someplace is unsafe, take heed
- Tip 9: Being on vacation doesn’t turn you into Superman – Don’t try doing anything that may be more physically involved than something you would do at home
- Tip 10: Always listen and be kind to your flight attendant – He or she has much more experience than you in dealing with onboard emergencies and situations. Their help could save your life!
FATAL SUNSET: Deadly Vacations is available for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, in Paperback and in audiobook form at Audible, Amazon and iTunes.Pin It