Coast Guard Calls Off Search for Missing Carnival Victory Passenger

Charleston, USA - June 8, 2015: US Coast Guard MH-65C Dolphin helicopter flying over a Carnival ship at Port of Charleston. US Coast Guard operates 204 fixed and rotary wing aircrafts throughout the contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

When embarking on a cruise, it’s easy to get swept up in the anticipation of the journey and the excitement that awaits around every corner. Whether you’re a first time cruise passenger or not, chances are high that you’ll be a little preoccupied once you depart, as you take in all that your vacation has to offer.

As a maritime law firm, we understand just how easy it is to lose track of the importance of your own safety. With so much to see and do, who has time to remember the basics of keeping yourself and your traveling companions out of harm’s way? Ultimately, you do have the time. And there’s nothing more important in our eyes than making sure passengers–whether they are vacationers or crewmembers–get home safe and sound.

Unfortunately, accident and injury do take place aboard cruise ships. Some of the accidents most frequently seen in the news are cases of passengers falling overboard. A recent story reminds us that this kind of incident is still very much a concern.

Early Wednesday morning, 23-year-old Brandon Paul was reported to have fallen from the eighth deck of the Carnival Victory at 3a.m. At the time of the fall, the ship was 33 miles northwest of Cuba.

As a result, both the U.S. Coast Guard and Cuban search and rescue teams conducted a thorough search of the area. In the end, their search lasted 16 hours and covered 3,469 square miles. Unfortunately, the after finding no trace of the missing passenger, the Coast Guard made the difficult decision to call off the search.

We send our deepest condolences to the Paul family as they navigate this painful time.

It is never easy to lose a loved one, especially on vacation and even more so when there is no closure. Carnival announced that their Care Team is in place, assisting those impacted by Mr. Paul’s disappearance.

Could the cruise line be blamed?

In the meantime, we can’t help but to wonder what led this man to fall overboard? Currently, the only facts we have are the time and place of his disappearance. The early hour makes us wonder if alcohol may have been a factor in this case.

Cruise ships have been known to over serve passengers, even after it is clear that they have had too much to drink. The Lines have an economic incentive to sell as such alcohol as they can as both the Line and the server benefit from this practice, but it a dangerous practice. If it turns out that as a result of this practice while intoxicated a passenger suffers an injury or falls overboard the practice of overserving alcohol can be the basis for the filing of a lawsuit against the Line.

While we do not know the specifics, we sincerely hope that Carnival did not participate in this kind of behavior. It’s worth noting that Carnival–including all of the lines owned by this mega company–has been responsible for almost half of all the cruise ship over boards since 2000. This is a statistic worth investigating, as it may shed light on a situation that is continuing to place passengers in harm’s way.

Our firm is well-prepared to handle cases against most major cruise lines. So if you’ve been injured aboard your cruise and believe you’re ready for legal advice, we are here for you. A maritime attorney on our team is ready to listen to your story and help you get back to living your life. Do not hesitate to contact us.