Cruise Passenger S.O.S., Cruise Ship Accidents, Maritime Matter of the Week

6-Year-Old Boy Drowns on Carnival Cruise Ship


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Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. is comprised of attorneys that are nationally-recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of lawyers has over a century of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients.

Cruise ship pool drowningWhat was supposed to be a fun-filled family vacation has ended tragically after a 6-year-old boy drowned onboard a Carnival Cruise Line vessel. The victim, Qwentyn Hunter, of Winter Garden, had been playing with his older brother inside a Carnival Victory pool on Sunday when he went underwater and was not moving.

Other cruise passengers who were in the area pulled the young victim out of the pool and attempted to revive him, but the boy died on the ship. The Victory was on the last leg of a 4-day Caribbean itinerary when the drowning accident occurred.

Carnival expressed its sympathy to the boy’s family, but is this enough? Police do not believe the cruise ship drowning accident was the result of foul play, but where were Victory crew members when the boy was drowning and needed help? Where were the ship’s lifeguards? Oh, that’s right, there were none onboard because Carnival (and many other lines for that matter) doesn’t employ lifeguards.

A few months ago, our cruise ship accident lawyers reported on a similar incident involving the near-drowning of a 4-year-old boy. The young victim was also playing in a pool onboard the Disney Fantasy when he almost drowned. Again, no crew members were around to stop this boy from almost dying, and this weekend, no crew members were present – AGAIN – to help this poor victim.

So with an increasing number of drowning accidents taking place, what is stopping the cruise industry from investing in lifeguards for their vessels?  Simple, the answer is MONEY.

Lifeguards don’t come cheap. After all, they are highly trained in handling and preventing drowning accidents. And we all know by now that cruise lines don’t like to spend money unless it’s on something that will make their ships more flashy and “entertaining” so they can get more people to book cruises.

Our attorneys know this because we have years of experience in maritime law, but to the average cruise traveler, who isn’t made privy to the fact that there aren’t any lifeguards onboard, they may not realize the dangers they are truly in until it’s too late.

Cruise travelers expect to be protected during their vacations, and with good reason. From the moment a cruise ship is angers they are truly in until it’s too late.

Cruise travelers expect to be protected during their vacations, and with good reason. From the moment a cruise ship is boarded, passengers place their lives in the hands of crew members, who are often severely undertrained to handle emergency situations. They may think they are in good hands, but in reality, an accident can occur in the blink of an eye.

Cruise ships are notorious for drowning and near-drowning accidents. These tragedies can happen to anyone, regardless of age or swimming skills. Just look at last month’s cruise drowning accident involving the 1985 MOVE Bombing survivor Michael Ward, aka Birdie Africa, who was 41-years-old.

Yet, lines still refuse to hire lifeguards or to better train current crew members. But even if there were no lifeguards, how is it that there were no regular crew members around to help? Carnival ships are among the largest in the world and feature hundreds of security cameras and hundreds of crew members. Surely the majority of crew members should be guarding areas where accidents are bound to happen, especially the Lido Deck where a vessel’s pools and hot tubs are located.

The poor boy who drowned this weekend was helped by fellow passengers, not crew members, which, again, shows the dire lack of safety protocols employed by Carnival Cruise – a line that has already been at the forefront of maritime disaster more so than any other line in the world.

Cruise lines tend to avoid liability when it comes to any type of accident, especially those that involve a passenger’s drowning. They think that just because they post warning signs that inform passengers there are no lifeguards on duty they have escaped liability when it comes to an accident, but they are mistaken.

These warning signs are usually posted in inconspicuous areas that are not easily visible to passengers. But should travelers use cruise pools at their own risk? Are passengers responsible for their own accidents? Of course not!

There are endless distractions onboard a cruise ship, and when it comes to children, accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Anyone who has kids knows that they can get into trouble even when parents are standing right in front of them. There is no excuse for a cruise line not to be looking out for the best interests of their passengers, especially children. Carnival has always prided itself on being the “Fun Ship,” but “fun” is not something the line can call itself after being involved in so many accidents.

Ok, there are times when accidents at sea are inevitable, no matter what a crew does to prevent it. One, two, maybe three accidents in a year are ok, especially if they do not involve any injuries. But two drowning for Carnival less than a month apart is unacceptable.

Cruise ships are nothing more than floating hotels. There are no lifeguards, no cops, maybe one doctor onboard. That’s it. If something happens, passengers are basically on their own. Cruise lines are not dumb. They fully comprehend the dangers travelers can face both at sea and in port, yet they do not make the necessary chances to improve safety. Why? What more must happen before the industry makes the much needed and long overdue changes in their safety protocols?

It seems like cruise ship drowning accidents – and any accidents in general – are just unavoidable these days. Luckily, maritime lawyers can be counted on to help when an injury or death of a loved one occurs. Our law firm has released an app that can help protect a passenger’s rights in the event of an emergency.

Called “Cruise Ship Lawyer,” our app is available to download for free on Apple phones and Android phones. It features a log that can help travelers keep track of their expenses and what happened in the wake of an accident, a flashlight and even Wi-Fi to help users connect directly with our attorneys so we can start building a case.

But above everything else, our cruise lawyers warn passengers to stay on the lookout during their entire vacation to try and stay away from dangerous situations. There are a few things passengers can do to prevent an accident, including traveling in large groups to reduce the risk of assault, establish meeting points to avoid losing loved ones onboard a big ship and staying away from isolated areas where crimes can easily occur.

Cruise vacations should be fun, and we hope the industry will work harder at improving safety so we can put the “fun” back in “Fun Ships.”


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