On February 18, 2022, the US Coast Guard announced that it had reluctantly suspended the search for a woman who went overboard a Carnival cruise during an altercation with security. The Miami Herald covered the incident in a recent article, stating that the passenger had been involved in a heated exchange with another guest in the hot tub area on the ship’s 10th deck. Security guards were in the process of separating the pair and removing the woman from the area, when the victim broke free and went over the rail. Crew members immediately launched a response by throwing a life ring and conducting a search, which the Coast Guard eventually took over. After a meticulous search-and-rescue over 2,500 nautical miles, officials suspended their efforts.
There is no global authority on tracking these incidents, but some estimates indicate that more than 300 passengers have gone overboard since the early 2000s. This tragedy is a reminder about safety onboard, but it also raises multiple legal issues related to Miami cruise ship accidents. Some background information puts the incident into context.
Concerns and Questions About Passenger Overboard Incidents
At just over 300 victims in the last 20+ years, these accidents are rare; in fact, some passenger overboard incidents are linked to suicide attempts. While the investigation into the recent tragedy continues, there are some questions and concerns about the facts that are known at this time:
Is misconduct by security a contributing factor? The woman was not handcuffed by security, but she was removed from the hot tub area through force – albeit slight. Videos captured by other guests demonstrate her being guided away by security, who held her arms behind her back.
Was the woman overserved by cruise staff? There is no doubt that passengers partake in cocktails during a cruise, many of whom start drinking earlier in the day because they are on vacation. Bartenders and servers have a duty to be responsible in serving alcoholic beverages.
How were other passengers affected after witnessing the overboard incident? Hundreds of individuals saw the woman go overboard, watching in chilling horror as the life ring bobbed with no one to grab it. Some witnesses reported that she took a blow to the head as she fell over, possibly resulting in unconsciousness before she hit the water.
Reminders About Safety Onboard
Even when on vacation, it is important to be vigilant and responsible during a cruise vacation.
- Know your limits with alcohol.
- Keep an eye on others when they get tipsy, especially around pools, hot tubs, and other water-related activities.
- Never resist efforts by security.
Our Miami Cruise Ship Accidents Lawyers Will Provide Additional Details
You will hopefully never encounter a passenger-overboard situation while enjoying a cruise vacation, but it is important to know your legal rights if you suffered injuries in an accident. To learn more about them, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA. We can schedule a no-cost consultation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL to discuss your options.