Author: Amanda Batchelor, Senior Digital Editor, Nov 11 2015 via www.local10.com
Spouse claims Elbaz fell from balcony after tackled by security
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – An attorney for the husband of a man who went overboard on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has released a second portion of cellphone video that shows the moments inside the couple’s cabin before one of them fell overboard.
The video shows Bernardo Elbaz, who also went by Bernardo Garcia Teixeira, speaking to Oasis of the Seas security guards outside of the room.
Michael Winkleman, an attorney for Erik Elbaz, said security guards threatened to put Bernardo Elbaz in a holding cell after he told them that there was no domestic disturbance and that he was upset because employees were harassing the couple because they are gay.
Winkleman said the video shows Bernardo Elbaz pointing at security while saying, “Because of this, I am throwing myself.” That portion of the video wasn’t released at the request of the family.
The video shows Erik Elbaz hysterical on the bed telling security, “Get him, he’s going to fall. Get him!”
Security guards are seen trying to calm Erik Elbaz and eventually lead him to the balcony to see that his husband is still on the platform.
Although the video doesn’t show what happened on the balcony, Winkleman claims that Erik Elbaz was tackled on the balcony after he went after his husband, sending Bernardo Elbaz over the railing and onto the lifeboat platform two stories below.
Winkleman claims that security guards told Bernardo Elbaz to reposition himself in a hanging position on the platform, and he eventually lost his grip and fell into the water.
As Bernardo Elbaz fell, a security guard tells his husband that Bernardo fell overboard. Eric Elbaz is then heard screaming, “He didn’t fall! You pushed him! You killed him! He didn’t jump. He didn’t jump! You had him. Why? Why?”
Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said in a statement that the security staff was called to the passenger’s room on the seventh floor after a neighboring guest complained about a domestic dispute on the balcony. Martinez said the domestic dispute was loud enough to be heard from several staterooms away.
“The room was in a state of disarray, and both lamps in the room had been broken,” she said. “Our officers interviewed the guests separately about their dispute, as is standard procedure. The officers were not in the room when the guest chose to jump off his balcony.”
Winkleman said it was not a suicide attempt because Bernardo Elbaz was trying to hold on. Winkleman claims the man went over the balcony as an act of protest and to get away from security.
“Our officers responded professionally and appropriately to the incident in the stateroom,” Martinez said. “In addition, other security officers and crew risked their own lives in an attempt to rescue the guest from the lifeboat rigging where he had fallen.”
The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for Bernardo Elbaz on Saturday.