Oasis of the Seas Man Overboard Accident Brings Reality of Overboard Passengers to Light

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

How accident misrepresentation and underreporting boils down to the three “R”s

Maritime Lawyers
Photo courtesy of Baldwin040, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The investigation into the Oasis of the Seas man overboard accident that claimed the life of Bernardo Elbaz, a 31-year-old passenger who died after falling from his balcony stateroom on November 6, 2015, is still underway. Both Royal Caribbean and the Broward County Sherriff’s Department continue to allege that Bernardo purposefully jumped from his balcony in an attempt to commit suicide, despite the video footage taken by fellow passengers clearly showing that Bernardo was holding onto a lifeboat as best he could in order to avoid falling into the waters below. This is certainly not the act of someone trying to kill himself.

Unfortunately, the information that has been released by the media, along with Royal Caribbean and police testimonies, has misrepresented the situation at hand and has offered an incomplete portrayal of the events that actually transpired on the night of Bernardo’s tragic death. Recently, however, our cruise ship accident attorneys obtained exclusive in-cabin video footage, provided by our client, Bernardo’s husband Erik, that reveals much more insight into the nature of the overboard accident than has thus far been represented by media outlets. The video shows a security guard rushing out to the balcony. Afterwards the same security guard states that Bernardo fell overboard. The husband then says that he didn’t fall, he was pushed.

Sadly, Bernardo’s is one of many overboard accidents and cruisejunkie.com. On November 8, a 43-year-old American woman fell from the Windstar Sea Breeze while the ship was sailing in Italy. Miraculously, she was rescued after just one hour in the water. The next day, a 75-year-old woman allegedly vanished from the MSC Opera, also while the ship was sailing in Italian waters. The woman was last seen at dinner the previous night but was not on board when the vessel docked in Genoa. Is this just a mysterious cruise passenger disappearance or is there more to the case?

Bottom line, cruise ships are well-equipped with hundreds of cameras that can capture incidents, such as a passenger falling overboard. Many times, cruise lines come forward to explain what the cameras have captured. Other times, the answer is usually “no comment”. If we are to be honest, the only enigma surrounding cruise ship overboard accidents – as far as our cruise ship accident lawyers can see – is why cruise lines refuse to actually admit the real evidence that is captured in a vessel’s surveillance footage. Like a broken record, the answer most likely boils down to the three “Rs”.