Our maritime lawyer Michael Winkleman was recently featured on Good Morning America to discuss the tragic cruise ship overboard accident involving Bernardo Elbaz who our firm is representing.
There have been several different stories regarding what really happened the night 31-year-old Bernardo Elbaz went overboard from the Oasis of the Seas cruise ship he was sailing on with his husband Erik. However, recent revelations about the accident that our firm has provided have raised new questions about what actually occurred, disputing the cruise line’s allegations that Bernardo committed suicide.
Thus far, Royal Caribbean contends that Bernardo “jumped” off the vessel. The cruise line denies any wrongdoing and maintains that the victim purposefully chose to jump from the balcony in his cabin. However, Bernardo’s family – and our maritime lawyers – are disputing these allegations. The victim’s family has explained that Bernardo fell from the balcony after having an altercation with the ship’s crew members, who had made several offensive anti-gay remarks toward the victim.
“What Royal Caribbean has said right from the get go is that this was a domestic dispute and a suicide, and what I’ve come to learn is, in fact, almost the exact opposite of that,” said attorney Winkleman.
Even in the footage released by fellow passengers of Bernardo’s last moments, it is clear that he was clutching onto a lifeboat for his life as best he could before falling into the ocean below. Still, Royal Caribbean staff continue to claim they actually saw Bernardo “intentionally going over the side of the ship.”
The Elbaz family has contested these allegations. The family explains crew members had made several anti-gay remarks, discriminating against Bernardo, which eventually led to a fight between the victim and the cruise line’s crew members.
Our maritime attorney went on to explain in the interview that both Bernardo and Erik had their cell phones on them and were able to record footage of what actually transpired – which is a far cry from what Royal Caribbean and the media have been showing.
However, Royal Caribbean continues to deny that its crew did anything wrong and are pushing their version of the story. Royal claims the couple had a domestic dispute, which somehow led Bernardo to jump purposefully off the balcony in his stateroom. Royal further claims that its crew was “unable to prevent [Bernardo’s] jumping from the balcony.”
The Coast Guard called off the search for Bernardo on Saturday morning, but Erik has since sought legal representation with our firm. Consequently, our firm has posted exclusive video footage taken from inside the cabin that Erik and Bernardo were sharing right before the tragic overboard accident occurred. Footage which offers a greater scope of what really transpired that night, including our client, Erik, in complete disarray over what happened and yelling at the crew members inside his stateroom about how they “murdered” his husband.
A careful viewing of the video shows a large security person rushing out to the balcony. Afterwards he states that Bernardo fell overboard. He did not say that Bernardo jumped. Erik responded that the security guard pushed Bernardo overboard in response.
To watch the Good Morning America interview, click here.
Click here to view exclusive footage taken inside the couple’s cabin right before Bernardo went overboard.