The following article appeared in Making Waves, a publication of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, owners of Majesty of the Seas.

Majesty of the Seas Witnesses Downing of Two Civilian Planes

On February 24, Majesty of the Seas, was sailing near Cuban waters when it witnessed two civilian aircraft, owned by the Miami-based group Brothers to the Rescue, being downed by Cuban military aircraft. Brothers to the Rescue has long flown its privately-owned planes in the waters between Florida and Cuba to save Cuban refugees escaping from the island by raft.

At approximately 3:25 pm on February 24, Majesty of the Seas was located approximately 25 nautical miles off the coast of Havana. At that time the Officer of the Watch observed a small explosion followed by burning material falling from an estimated altitude of 500 to 1,000 feet. The officer of the Watch called the Master of Majesty of the Seas, who proceeded to the ship's bridge. Shortly thereafter, a second small plane was downed by a Cuban fighter jet.

Since no distress calls or advisories were received by the vessel, majesty of the Seas continued its voyage en route to Miami, where it arrived the morning of February 25. It was only after media reports were received by the ship, the night before the ship's staff was made aware of the seriousness of the incident; until then, it was believed that a military exercise was being conducted in the area. Royal Caribbean initiated contact with the U.S. Coast Guard, who, along with other relevant authorities were provided with copies of the ship's log and access to the ship's officers who witnessed the incident.

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Copyright 1996 Making Waves, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines