The mother of a Tennessee woman who fell overboard from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship is alleging the cruise line could have done more to save her daughter, including turning the vessel around to search for her immediately. The victim, finally identified as A’riel Brianna Marion, 21, fell off the Allure of the Seas cruise ship less than 50 miles east of Fort Lauderdale on Sept. 16, just hours after the mega-vessel left Port Everglades on a Caribbean itinerary. The search for Marion was called off, but her body was never recovered.
According to the victim’s mother, Vera Marion, who was also on the seven-day cruise, she had to be hospitalized after hearing her daughter, known to those close to her as ‘Bri,’ fell off the ship. She claims the vessel’s captain should have immediately stopped the ship an initiated a search without hesitation. She believes if a rescue party had been sent out faster, her daughter might have been saved.
“They knew she had gone overboard. A lady called and said something from the deck above her fell overboard and hit her arm,” said Vera Marion to NBC 6 from her sick bed. “They immediately cleared off that side of the ship. But they never started the search.”
Vera Marion believes that too much time elapsed between when the captain was notified of the missing passenger and when the actual rescue boats went out to sea. Because the captain was too slow to react to the tragedy, Vera believes the ship is partly responsible for her death. If Royal Caribbean is found at fault, Vera may be entitled to compensation for the death of her daughter.
According to Royal Caribbean International officials, the passenger who notified crewmembers about the cruise accident called in the incident around 9:25 p.m. and did not know what went exactly had gone overboard, whether it was a person or a piece of furniture. An hour later, a security officer reviewing the surveillance video noticed it was the woman going overboard. At this point, the captain turned the ship around and tried to locate the victim. The U.S. Coast Guard was also notified of the incident and after two days of searching for A’riel’s body, called the search off.
The vessel operator had a duty to conduct a reasonable search and rescue under maritime law. Failing to act more quickly could render the vessel operator liable for the death of the missing passenger. Certainly the video could have been checked immediately rather than waiting one hour if this reported fact is correct.
Unfortunately a death on the high seas is governed by DOSHA (death on the high seas act) which only provide for pecuniary (financial losses) This can result in the case of an unmarried adult with no dependent survivors having little value. This is a law that should be changed. An attempt was made to do so in Congress after the recent explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately this effort at the legislative level got nowhere.
Vera Marion isn’t satisfied with the turn of events and reportedly has hired experience legal counsel who used to be an attorney who worked with Charles Lipcon. Authorities have not found any indication of foul play in the death and the FBI is continuing to investigate the cruise ship accident.
As tragic as this cruise accident is, A’riel Brianna Marion is not the first cruise ship passenger to go overboard or to have gone missing from a vessel. Unfortunately, there are many times in which victims may have been saved or stopped from going overboard entirely. Several cruise accidents and fatalities are the direct result of crew negligence or faulty equipment, and anyone who has been hurt or lost a loved one while onboard a cruise ship is entitled to seek legal help.
Our cruise injury lawyers have been representing accident victims since 1971 and have over 165 years of combined experience in the field. We work hard to secure you and your loved ones the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses and see to it that if the cruise line was somehow responsible for the tragedy, that they are held accountable for their negligence or crimes.
Contact maritime lawyers Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. today for more information on how to get started with your claim.