Fatal Cruise Ship Drowning Accident: 10-year-old Girl Dies After Drowning in a Pool Aboard the Norwegian Gem

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Norwegian-GemOnly five months have passed since our cruise ship accident lawyers here at LMAW reported on the tragic near-drowning of a 4-year-old boy aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas vessel. Our firm is representing the family of the young victim, but nothing can ever truly ease the grief and terror felt by drowning victims and their loved ones. This accident highlighted a very critical and highly debated subject concerning the cruise industry which I discussed on the Today Show last month: the fact that the majority of cruise lines do not hire trained lifeguards to work aboard their ships.

Fortunately, in this situation, there were a number of passengers aboard Oasis of the Seas who were trained in lifesaving medical procedures, and were able to successfully perform CPR on the boy. However, there aren’t always medically-trained passengers on a cruise that can come to the rescue of a drowning victim, which is why there is simply no excuse for cruise lines not to staff their vessels with lifeguards.

Throughout the years, there have been several other child drowning accidents. One would think that by now, cruise lines would have learned their lesson and improved passenger safety by hiring employing lifeguards, who can assess when a drowning appears to be taking place and provide the necessary emergency assistance. Yet, the majority of cruise lines continue to fail to do so, and because there is currently no maritime law in place requiring cruise lines to hire lifeguards, this crucial aspect of onboard safety continues to be neglected, and passengers are expected to swim at their own risk.

And now, we’ve come to learn that yet another child drowning accident has transpired, this time aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship. Sadly, the young victim in this particular incident did not survive.

According to news reports, a 10-year-old girl drowned in a cruise ship pool aboard the Norwegian Gem on Sunday while the vessel was sailing off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Vanessa Picariello, a spokeswoman for Norwegian, explained that the vessel’s medical team administered CPR and other lifesaving procedures, but were unable to revive the girl.

Picariello added that Norwegian officials are “extremely saddened” and extend their “deepest sympathies to the family.” We can’t help but wonder just how sincere those “sympathies” are, since this – and most other cruise ship drowning accidents – could have been prevented if a lifeguard was present on board.  It is especially perplexing that Norwegian hasn’t hired lifeguards since just last year, another child drowned aboard the Norwegian Breakaway ship.

Our condolences go out to the victim’s family, and we wish them all the best during this most tragic and difficult time.

Will this drowning accident FINALLY spark a change in cruise industry safety protocols? We can only hope so.