Earlier this week, the Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian news outlet, reported that the body of a man who had fallen overboard from Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas on December 21st had been recovered, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The ship was sailing towards Noumea, New Caledonia, approximately 550 kilometers east of Brisbane when the unidentified man went overboard. Our Florida maritime accident lawyers have been covering this news extensively, and can provide legal advice to anyone that may find themselves in an accident related to time spend on a cruise.
An alarm was raised around 1 AM Queensland time after another passenger witnessed the man fall. According to reports, the ship’s crew threw life preservers and smoke markers into the water, and even launched rescue boats, but, however, they could not locate the man. New Caledonian Law Enforcement Services will be investigating the death.
This incident is just another in a long line of unfortunate man overboard accidents which have plagued the cruise industry the last couple years. Last year, 30-year-old South Floridian Sarah Kirby fell overboard from the Carnival Destiny as it sailed from Miami to Jamaica. Kirby fell 100 feet to the water, striking a lifeboat on the way down. Kirby then spent the next two hours floating in the ocean at night, injured and struggling to stay afloat. Kirby’s story ended much more fortunately than many others.
Another man overboard incident in Australia occurred in May of this year, when Kristen Schroder and Paul Rossington both fell over the railing of the Carnival Spirit as it returned to Sydney at the end of a 10-day cruise. It was not until the couple failed to disembark the next day that anyone even realized they were missing. The couples’ bodies have never been found.
In 2010, Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act, which requires cruise lines to equip their vessels with systems designed to automatically capture images of persons going overboard or to notify the crew if a person falls overboard. The law is intended to spur immediate rescue action when a passenger goes overboard, however, few cruise lines have implemented any technology that complies with the law.
Man overboard accidents and passenger disappearances are becoming more and more common, rendering the rendering the need for experienced legal counsel for the victims and victims’ families injured or killed in such accidents increasingly important. According to one estimate, since 2000, there have been more than 200 man overboard cases around the world, despite the fact that only a fraction of such numbers have actually been reported by cruise lines.
As this blog has mentioned before, because cruise ship accidents are subject to different laws and much shorter statutes of limitations, sometimes as short as one year, they are best handled by experienced cruise ship accident attorneys. The Florida cruise ship accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. are licensed to practice law in all of Florida’s state and federal courts and has been representing the victims of cruise ship accidents for over four decades. If you or someone you know has been injured in a cruise ship accident, contact the Florida cruise ship lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today.