There have been 198 reported overboard cruise accidents since 2000, but rarely has there been a chance for the public to actually hear first-hand details from a victim’s point of view. While the sad truth is that most individuals who go overboard from cruise ships rarely survive, one cruise passenger not only survived her accident, but is about to take us through her harrowing experience on Inside Edition.
Sarah Kirby thought she was going to have the time of her life with her fiancé and best friend when she booked a cruise onboard the Carnival Cruise ship Destiny last year. But while the cruise did prove to be memorable, the 29-year-old’s experience would be a far cry from the relaxing and enjoyable vacation she expected.
Kirby found herself stranded in the middle of the ocean after falling roughly 100 feet from her stateroom balcony just after midnight on Sunday, Oct. 22. Although maritime law requires vessels to immediately begin a search and rescue mission when a passenger is reported missing, it took Carnival nearly two hours to turn the ship around.
But that’s not even the worst of it.
In her interview, Kirby explains how the environment aboard the Destiny was one of frivolity and lacked a sense of safety. While at one of the ship’s bars, Kirby and her friend were over-served with alcohol to the point that she became so intoxicated, that once she returned to her cabin, she fell from her balcony into the dark and dangerous waters below. And despite her friend witnessing the accident and immediately reporting it, Carnival did little to help her. Instead, the line wasted nearly two hours searching for Kirby on the ship before it decided to turn the vessel around to find her.
When Kirby was finally back onboard the ship, the line’s staff failed to give her proper medical treatment for the extensive and severe injuries she had sustained, including broken bones, lung contusions, hypothermia, and several blood clots throughout her body – all injuries which should have warranted an immediate airlift evacuation to the closest hospital on land. After finally healing, Kirby retained the help of our maritime law firm to file a lawsuit against Carnival, but her battle for justice is far from over.
Kirby’s unbelievable story is one of terror and courage, but for the first time on national television, the cruise ship accident survivor is going to share her tale with the rest of the world, giving the public an inside look into what really happens when a passenger falls overboard from a cruise vessel.
Tonight, Monday May 6, 2013, Inside Edition will air a special on Kirby’s heart-wrenching story and the excuses Carnival made for her grossly delayed rescue. The show will also feature an interview with Michael A. Winkleman, lead maritime attorney on the case, who will discuss the cruise line’s extensive negligence in offering Kirby the help she was rightfully entitled to, the irresponsible over-serving of alcohol as well as an overview on the many ways cruise lines have been able to evade liability for overboard accidents and disappearances.
Tune in to FOX at 7 p.m. EST to watch the unbelievable cruise accident interview and gain an exclusive look into the clandestine world of the cruise industry through the eyes of a surviving cruise ship accident victim.
Click here for a clip of the show.