Overboard Accidents Just Keep on Coming – What is Going On?

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Life saverEvery day this week, our cruise ship accident attorneys have been reporting on several overboard accidents that have taken the lives of several innocent people. Some of these accidents have been captured on the ships’ video surveillance systems, while others we know very little about. What we do know is that so far, one 26-year-old male Royal Caribbean passenger, one 65-year-old male Royal Caribbean passenger, and one 34-year-old Princess Cruises crew member have gone overboard. The 26-year-old passenger and the crew member have reportedly jumped from their vessels, but what about the other victim? Why don’t we have any information on his accident or the moments leading up to it?

Aside from these three tragedies, yet another overboard accident has been brought to our attention. An 88-year-old woman allegedly went overboard from the Holland America cruise ship Veendam while the vessel was sailing off the coast of Mexico on Jan. 3.

Passengers on the same itinerary took to social media to voice their concerns, saying that the incident was shrouded in mystery. Some say the woman committed suicide, but no one was sharing information. Others say the crew announced a “man overboard” emergency and ordered travelers to remain in their cabins.

So what exactly happened?

According to the latest news reports, the incident has been ruled as non-suspicious.  This leaves us with intentional or accidental death.  This is the piece of the puzzle we have yet to uncover.  Amazingly, in essentially all of these “man overboard” cases, the cruise lines – which are in control of the information – report that the “man overboard” intentionally went overboard.

Also, in this latest incident, the victim was also a Canadian citizen. Though this may not have anything to do with the other overboard accidents, we find it a bit odd that all the passengers who went overboard in the past week and a half were from Canada.

The other bit of information we have comes from witnesses, who claim they saw the elderly woman standing outside her balcony stateroom, leaning over the balcony with her arms extended outward. Perhaps she slipped while standing on the rail and trying to reposition herself, and then fell into the ocean?

Though crew members allegedly stopped the ship and turned it around right away, it was too late. Lifeboats were sent to look for the victim but by the time her body was recovered, she could not be revived.

We find it a bit odd that an 88-year-old woman would be horsing around on her balcony. There must be more to this story than meets the eye, but when it comes to the cruise industry, secrecy is always well kept.

Though the public is entitled to know what happened, it may be a while before we have all the facts together. What we still fail to understand and accept is how all of these ships with their ample array of surveillance cameras, still manage to avoid capturing the accident as it occurs. Interestingly, the two alleged suicides (the 26-year-old passenger and 34-year-old crew member) were captured, but the two mysterious “accidents” were not. Is the cruise industry trying to hide something? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s all just a big coincidence. Who knows? The industry sure isn’t sharing the details with anyone.

This cruise season has already started pretty horrifically. A slew of overboard accidents have already befallen the industry, and after coming out of two very accident-prone years featuring the Costa Concordia crash in 2012 and the Carnival Triumph fire in 2013, our cruise lawyers were hoping 2014 would be the catalyst of change for greater maritime safety across all cruise lines. Well, it seems we might as well say better luck next year. At least those involved in serious accidents or who have lost a loved one at sea have the right to contact an attorney for help in protecting their rights. It certainly appears as though the right to be safe onboard a cruise ship isn’t being upheld by the lines themselves.