Central Florida couple on cruise ship tour dies in Cozumel

Published On: Nov 19 2012 08:57:47 AM EST
Updated On: Nov 19 2012 05:53:08 PM EST

A Central Florida couple on a cruise ship tour in Cozumel died in a dune buggy accident, according to officials with Royal Caribbean International.

ORLANDO, Fla. -

A Central Florida couple on a cruise ship tour in Cozumel died in a dune buggy accident, according to officials with Royal Caribbean International.

Jim Melillo, 39, and his girlfriend, Susan Borges, 41, were killed in Cozumel over the weekend. The couple were passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean "Liberty of the Seas," which docked Monday in South Florida.

Royal Caribbean released a statement saying they "extend our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends."

According to the statement, the couple had been participating in a sand buggy shore excursion that wasn't sponsored by Royal Caribbean.

"Our Care Team is providing support and assistance to guests’ family and friends," officials said in the statement. " Our thoughts are with their family and friends, and we will continue to do our very best to assist them."

Local 6 spoke to the family of the couple at their home in the Conway area, where they said Melillo was about to start his own real estate business with his father. His father also told Local 6 Melillo was one of the most popular salesmen at Trane Cooling and Heating systems and that grief counselors were brought in to console workers on Monday.

Borges worked in the corporate offices of the Cheesecake Factory. Borges and Melillo were dating for about three years and they enjoyed traveling and cruising together.

The driver of the buggy, Wagner Ferreira, a fitness trainer at a gym in Winter Garden, was questioned and released by Mexican police. Borges and Melillo's families told Local 6 they don't believe alcohol was a factor in the crash and that they believe it was a mechanical failure. 

Family members say Wagner lost control of the buggy after the steering wheel locked up and plowed into a guardrail. Wagner and his wife survived the crash and family say the couple is devastated.

A memorial fundraiser will be held for Borges and Melillo on Wednesday at 9 p.m. at the Bullit Bar on Pine Street.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

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