Cruise Passenger S.O.S., Maritime Wrongful Death

Couple Died Aboard Cruise Due to Cabin Lacking Safety Measures


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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.

Smoke detectorWhen you select a cruise, you want to know that the cruise line has your best interest at heart. After all, you’re placing your faith in the fact that this company will safely deliver you back home, with great memories and maybe even a few souvenirs in tow. These days, there are certain safety requirements that go along with operating a cruise ship. However, enforcing these regulations can be difficult. Therefore, it doesn’t hurt to do a little research into the company with which you’re traveling, to get a better understanding of their safety protocol.

Unfortunately, as a recent story reveals, research cannot prevent tragic accidents from occurring at sea.

Last year, Larry and Christie Hammer, of Gretna, Omaha, went on a cruise of the Amazon River but they never made it home. During the Peruvian cruise, a power strip Mr. Hammer was using for his CPAP machine caught fire, engulfing the Hammers’ cabin in flames.

Fire alarms did not sound and almost 21 minutes passed before crewmembers attempted a rescue. Mr. Hammer died at the scene. However, Mrs. Hammer was still alive when crewmembers entered the cabin. She later died of carbon monoxide poisoning in transit to the hospital.

This deeply troubling event revealed that the cruise, which was billed, “the best on the Amazon,” was simply not up to code. For example, fire-resistant materials were not used in the rooms, and adequate smoke alarms were not in place. This is especially concerning, considering that the boat was only 4 years old–new enough to be equipped with the latest in safety devices.

The ship, the Estrella Amazonia, is still sailing on the Amazon. However, there has been no official report as to what safety features have been installed to make sure the safety of the vessel has been improved sufficiently to serve the needs of those vacationers on board it now.

Perhaps most saddening is the fact that this couple could have survived, if the cruise line had sufficiently prepared the ship to alert the staff to the existence of a fire and smoke in the early stages of its existence and properly trained and equipped the crewmembers on how to respond to such an emergency, mostly likely the Hammers would still be alive today. There is no excuse for any company to jeopardize the lives of their passengers, and we send our deepest condolences to the Hammers’ daughters, who continue to seek justice after their parents’ untimely death.

When Tragedy Strikes, We’re Here for You

As a maritime law firm, we see cruise line negligence far too often. It’s unacceptable for any company to cut corners in order to save money, putting innocent lives at risk of harm in the process. Our team has handled cruise line accident, injury, and death cases for over 100 combined years. Thus, we’ve become skilled in helping victims get the justice and thus closure they deserve, so that they can move forward with their lives.

If you are seeking legal guidance on a maritime issue, then a maritime attorney on our team is here to help. We’ve assisted clients around the world with a variety of maritime legal matters. So if you have questions about your situation and are ready to find answers, then do not hesitate to contact us.

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