July 25, 2016

Two Cruise Passengers Medevaced Off Norwegian Gem

Two-Passengers-Medevaced-Off-Norwegian-Gem.jpgThe Coast Guard is reporting a medical evacuation of two passengers off the Norwegian Gem. The rescue occurred early morning on July 24, 2016. The cruise ship contacted sector Hampton Roads Command Center in Portsmouth and notified it that the two passengers were experiencing "medical complications". The liner was about 75 miles northeast of Cape Henry at the time of the emergency. The medical rescue was executed by a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and assisted by a C-130 Hercules aircraft crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Both men were hoisted on board the helicopter shortly after 5 a.m.

The passengers were flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk for treatment. The Norwegian Gem is operated by Miami, Florida based Norwegian Cruise Line.

July 21, 2016

NCL Crew Member Dies After Rescue Boat Drill Accident

During a routine safety training drill in Bermuda four crew members of the Norwegian Breakaway were injured when the rescue boat they were lowering into the water as part of the drill broke from its tethering and was left hanging by a wire. The four men fell into the water and sustained injuries. The men were treated by ship's medical staff and transferred to a local hospital, where one of the men passed away.

Authorities are investigating the incident. The ship is expected to depart Bermuda as scheduled and return to New York on July 24.

We extend our sincere condolences to the crew members' families and wish the three injured seamen a speedy recovery.

The crew members and the estate of the deceased crew member likely have claims under the Jones Act for negligence. The Jones Act imposes liability upon a seaman's employer for defective or dangerous conditions which the employer knew or should have known about. Additionally, the crew members and the estate of the deceased crew member may have claims under the doctrine of unseaworthiness, which requires a ship owner to maintain a seaworthy vessel or a vessel that is free of unreasonably dangerous and/or unsafe conditions. In addition to these claims, the injured seamen have a claim for maintenance and cure. Regardless of fault, seamen who become ill or are injured during their employment, are entitled to maintenance, cure and unearned wages. Maintenance refers to the reasonable expenses of room and board of the seaman while ashore, until he or she is fit for duty or reaches maximum medical improvement. Unearned wages are wages the seaman would have earned had he not become sick or injured, to the end of the voyage. Lastly, cure, refers to the reasonable medical expenses incurred by the seaman for curative treatment. Another Federal Statue that may apply depending upon the location of a maritime tort is the Death on the High Seas Act ("DOHSA").

Our firm has vast experience in representing crew members in claims against their employers. If you or a loved one have been injured and would like to learn more about your rights, please contact our firm.


Crew Ship Crew Dies after Lifeboat Accident, The Royal Gazette, July 21, 2016.
Crew Member Dies During Rescue Boat Drill aboard Norwegian Breakaway, Three Others Injured, GCaptain, July 20, 2016.
4 People Injured After Norwegian Breakaway Lifeboat Accident, Cruisehive, July 20, 2016
BPS Confirm Death of Cruise Ship Crew Member, BER News, July 20, 2016.

Photo Credit:

BER News

July 19, 2016

74 Year Old Passenger Medevaced Off Carnival Breeze

Defense Imagery and Video System reports that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 74 year old passenger from the Carnival Breeze on July 18, 2016. The Coast Guard Command center received a call around 3:20 p.m. reporting that a man was unconscious and had been revived by Carnival medical staff. The cruise ship was approximately 379 miles southwest of St. Petersburg, Florida.

The helicopter crew arrived at approximately 8 p.m., hoisted the man and flew him to Tampa General Hospital where he arrived at about midnight. According to reports, the man was in stable condition upon arrival.

Cruise lines often tout that their medical facilities provide similar quality standards to medical facilities ashore. However, more often than not, passengers have to be medevaced to hospitals for further treatment. The incident above underscores how crucial it is for shipboard medical staff to timely evaluate patients as the process for emergency medical evacuations can take many hours, time which could be crucial if a person is critically injured or sick.

Source and Image Credit:

Coast Guard Medevacs Man 379 Miles Southwest of St. Petersburg, July 19, 2016

July 18, 2016

Passenger Medevaced Off Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship after Experiencing Stroke-Like Symptoms

Royal-Caribbean-Cruise-Passenger-Medevaced-Sitka-Alaska.jpgThe Coast Guard reports that an aircrew from its Sitka Alaska Air Station medevaced a passenger from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship last Tuesday. The 17th District Command Center was informed by the master of the Explorer of the Seas that a 57-year-old passenger was experiencing stroke-like symptoms and requested that he be medevaced to a land-based hospital. The Coast Guard's duty flight surgeon was consulted and recommended the medevac. The aircrew met the cruise ship in the Chatham Straight near Sitka and hoisted the man onto the rescue helicopter. The passenger was then transported to Sitka where he was met by awaiting emergency medical services personnel.

Petty Officer 1st Class Trevor Frommherz of Coast Guard 17th District Watchstander stated in a press release that, "During the summer months there is increased activity on the water, and our crews stand watch around the clock." "The ability to safely hoist someone in distress from a cruise ship despite the often unpredictable Alaskan weather is a testament to the training our men and women put in on a daily basis." Fortunately, there was fair weather conditions at the time of the medevac.

There has been no further report on the passenger's condition.

Source & Photo Credit: Coast Guard News

July 14, 2016

Law Enforcement Investigating Florida Boating Accident Wherein Child Died from Injuries

Florida Law Enforcement Boat Accident.jpgLaw enforcement is conducting an investigation into a boating accident that killed a 7-year-old child in Charlotte County, Florida. The incident occurred about 9 a.m. on the morning of July 9th near the Stump Pass area of Placida. The boy was in a 20-foot boat with his father and 11-year-old brother. Reports indicate that the boy was sitting at the back of the boat when his father turned on the engine. Unfortunately, the father applied too much throttle which caused the boy to fall off the back of the boat and into water. The boy made contact with the engine's propeller severely injuring him. The child was transported to the Englewood Emergency room where he later died from his injures.

Officer Stuart Spode of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission stated "at this time we believe it was just an unfortunate accident.". No charges are pending against the father.

July 12, 2016

Two Women Injured in Jet Ski Accident

Two women sustained injuries as a result of a personal watercraft accident, Monday, July 11, 2016 about a mile and half south of Bill Baggs State Park, near Key Biscayne. WSVN reports that both women were on the same Jet Ski when it ran aground, throwing them into the water.

One of the women sustained neck and head injuries and was airlifted to Ryder Trauma at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The second woman was taken to Mercy Hospital with facial injuries.

Perez of a party boat nearby found the two women and rendered assistance to them. According to Capt. Perez the more seriously hurt woman "couldn't move and was floating in the water."

The names of the two women and their condition have not been released. The cause of the accident is under investigation by Florida Fish and Wildlife officials.

Our firm has seen an increase in personal watercraft accidents in large part due to the failure of liveries to provide adequate pre-rental instruction to their customers. Pursuant to Fla. Stat. §327.54(1) the pre-rental instructions should include and need not be limited to instructions regarding 1) the operational characteristics of the vessel to be rented, 2) safe vessel operation and vessel right-of-way, 3) the responsibility of the vessel operator for the safe and proper operation of the vessel, and 4) local characteristics of the waterway where the vessel will be operated.

Our lawyers have handled multiple personal watercraft injury cases and have been successful in establishing the negligence of liveries involving the failure to provide adequate instructions before the renting of a personal watercraft. If you were injured during a personal watercraft rental and would like to know more about your legal rights, feel free to contact our offices.


2 injured in personal watercraft accident near Key Biscayne, WSVN, July 11, 2016.
2 injured in personal watercraft accident near Key Biscayne, Sun Sentinel, July 11, 2016

Photo Credit:

WSVN, 2016 Sunbeam Television Corp.

July 11, 2016

7-Year-Old Boy Killed in Boating Accident


A seven year old was killed while boating on Saturday July 9, 2016.

The boy, his father and 11 year old brother were on their boat, in the water, near Stump Pass Marina in Charlotte County, Florida just before 9 a.m. According to news sources, the boy was seated at the back of the boat when his dad turned on the engine and switched it into gear.

It appears the throttle bounced and the movement caused the boy to be thrown from the 20 foot boat into the propellers.

The child suffered heavy trauma to his abdomen and was taken to Englewood Community Hospital where he later passed away.

We are saddened by this tragic incident and our thoughts are with the boy's family.


Child dies in Charlotte county boating accident, NBC2, July 9, 2016.

7-year-old killed, thrown from boat in Charlotte County, Winknews, July 9, 2016.

Boy, 7, dies after Charlotte County boating accident, ABC7, July 9, 2016.

Photo Credit:

ABC7 news.

July 1, 2016

4-Year-Old Girl Drowns at Daytona Beach Resort Pool

Pool-Drowning-Golden-Seas-Resort.jpgA 4 year old girl drowned at the Grand Seas Resort near Daytona Beach, Florida. On June 2, 2016 Hailey R. Stanley of Macon, Georgia was on vacation with family spending time at the resort pool when another hotel guest spotted her at the bottom. That guest jumped in to rescue her and other guests immediately began administering CPR. Fire crews arrived shortly after 12:10 p.m. and continued CPR while rushing the toddler to Florida Hospital Oceanside, in Ormond Beach where the young girl was pronounced dead.

A police incident report indicates that the young girl was in the care of her 28 year old cousin. The toddler was last seen in the kiddie pool, but at some point she wandered over to a slide that slid down into a deeper section of the pool where the girl was seen motionless at the bottom. It is not clear from media reports whether a lifeguard was on duty for the resort at the time.

Florida leads the nation with the highest rate of drowning deaths of children between the ages of 1 and 4. A tragic trend in child drownings, known as the "everyone is watching, no one is watching" situation occurs when pools are crowded and caretakers assume that eyes are everywhere. Most drownings do not begin with the victim screaming and splashing. The distress often begins underwater where no one can hear or see that a child is in danger until it is too late.

July 1, 2016

Coast Guard Orders July 4th Slow Speed Zone in Biscayne Bay for Second Year

For a second consecutive year the Coast Guard has ordered an expanded 15-knot (17mph) speed limit for large areas of Biscayne Bay on July 4th. The temporary slow speed zone includes the areas between Turkey Point and the Julia Tuttle Causeway. This safety measure is a direct result from multiple July 4th boat accidents including the deadly accident in 2014 where four people died in a collision near Dinner Key in Coconut Grove. The slow speed zone will be in effect from 7 p.m. until 11:59 p.m. The Coast Guard along with Florida and local law enforcement agencies will have an increased presence during the period to ensure boater safety while transiting the bay during night hours. Below is a chart showing the expanded slow speed zone.


Source & Photo Credit: Coast Guard News

July 1, 2016

8 Year Old Boy Nearly Drowns on Board Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship


Royal Caribbean ANTHEM OF THE SEAS was forced to return to New Jersey just hours after it had departed after an eight year old boy nearly drowned in a pool on board. The young child is reported to be in critical condition. According to the Coast Guard, the boy had been in the water for eight to 10 minutes before cruise officials found him. The child was Medevaced to Staten Island University Hospital, where his family was expected to join him.

In March, a 4-year old boy nearly drowned in a pool on board the Royal Caribbean OASIS OF THE SEAS. The toddler was in the pool for five minutes underwater and no longer had a pulse before cruise passengers jumped in to perform CPR. Just in December of 2015, an 8-year old boy drowned on Royal Caribbean's LIBERTY OF THE SEAS. He was spotted by another guest and unable to be revived.

Despite the many incidents involving drownings and near drownings on board cruise ships, most cruise lines do not have lifeguards on their ships. Royal Caribbean has recently indicated it does not, nor does it plan to add, lifeguards on its ships. Disney Cruise Lines (Magical Cruises) remains as the only cruise line to provide lifeguards, which was put in place in reaction to a small child who nearly drowned aboard its FANTASY cruise ship. For an industry that depends upon families vacationing on their ships, it is truly appalling that cruise lines refuse to implement basic pool safety precautions to protect the very same families who support their business.

Cruise lines should be required to provide similar safety precautions followed by shore side resorts. These precautions, such as lifeguards, swimming instructors and child barricades are relatively inexpensive and proven to save lives.

Our law firm handles all sorts of pool and hot tub related injury and death cases and we often find that such accidents can easily be prevented. In other words, there is NO EXCUSE why a child must die in a swimming pool.

We extend our deepest sympathies to the family of the young child and wish him a speedy recovery.


Boy nearly drowns, NBC news, July 1, 2016.

Child nearly drowns in pool, pix11, July 1, 2016

Anthem Seas Cruise Ship forced to return to New Jersey,
July 1, 2016

June 29, 2016

Florida Intracoastal Waterway Boat Accident Leaves One Dead and Others Injured

Gonzalez_Pfannkuch_Boat_Accident.jpgDylan Gonzalez of Port Charlotte, Florida died in an early morning June 19th boating accident. Gonzalez was fishing with his friend Billy Pfannkuch on a 19' Ranger flats boat. Near 4:20 AM, the two men heard another boat's engine coming towards them. That boat was a 20' Lake & Bay operated by Dalton Reas and carrying four passengers. Pfannkuck reported to law enforcement that the boat operated by Reas was on plane in a no wake zone portion of the Intracoastal Waterway near Eldred's Marina and Placida Harbor. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who is investigating the accident reports the larger Lake & Bay boat struck a channel marker before colliding into the smaller Ranger boat. As shown in the above photograph, it appears that the Lake & Bay struck the Ranger on the starboard (right) aft (rear) quadrant with significant force. Gonzalez was transported to a nearby hospital but died from his injuries. Pfannkuch, who was ejected into the water from the crash, suffered a fractured collarbone and pelvis. A GoFundMe page was created to help with Pfannkuch's medical and family expenses as he is expected to be out of work for at least three months.

Boat run-over accidents in Florida have spiked in recent weeks. Often times a contributing factor to these run-overs is one boat failing to comply with safety laws. It has been reported that the Lake & Boat may not have had its running lights one. Both Federal and Florida law requires that a boat underway at night to display a certain configuration of lights so that others make observe the speed and direction of the boat.

Photo Credit:
Boca Beacon

June 28, 2016

One Dead Two Injured in St. Lucie County Boating Accident

Cody_Troska.jpgOne man has died from injuries after a boating accident in St. Lucie County, Florida. According to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) report, 20-year-old Dominic Dragan was operating a 20 foot center console Pathfinder by "running in circles, jumping waves and showing off." While running the vessel in circles, Dragan was thrown off into the water with his boat still circling around him.

Three witnesses swam out from shore to assist Dragan by attempting to board the unmanned vessel and cut off the engine. While attempting to board the Pathfinder, the vessel also ran them over. The three men were taken to the hospital where one of them, 26 year old Cody Troska, died from a head injury. The other two, 23 year old Luke Muccigrosso and 22 year old Andres Blanco, were also injured but survived. Dragan was not injured.

The FWC report indicates that Dragan may have been under the influence at the time. It seems that with each summer there is a spike of boating accidents where alcohol or drugs are involved. We recently blogged about boating under the influence of alcohol in Florida and civil liabilities associated when someone is injured by an intoxicated operator.

Photo: Cody Troska (Facebook)

June 28, 2016

A Legal Approach to Florida Boat Run-Over Injuries

Florida_Boat_Accident.jpgInjuries caused by boat run overs occur with some regularity in Florida. Just in the past week, Logan Farquhar of St. Augustine lost his leg when he and four others in a fishing boat were run over in the Tolomato River by a ski boat.

Our law firm has vast experience in handling personal injuries resulting from boats running over victims who were either in the water or on another watercraft. One of our recent cases involved a snorkeler who was run over by a speed boat in South Florida. The impact by the boat's propellers caused significant injuries to our client including a nearly severed left arm and fractured pelvis. Another case we recently handled involved a passenger who was run over by a Yamaha WaveRunner while riding as a passenger on the back of another personal watercraft. This accident resulted in our client suffering fractures to her left tibia and fibula. These cases are just examples of the various types of boat accident injury claims our attorneys handle.

Continue reading "A Legal Approach to Florida Boat Run-Over Injuries" »

June 27, 2016

St. Augustine, Florida Man Loses Leg in Boating Accident

Logan_Farquhar_vilano_bridge_boating_accident.jpgSt. Augustine, Florida Man, Logan Farquhar, was fishing with his fiancée Billie Inman and two others when a large ski boat ran them over near the Vilano Bridge on the Tolomato River on the night of June 25th. Inman told News4Jax reporter, "I woke up and I was inside the boat with another boat on top of me and water rushing in." The ski boat fled the accident scene after the collision but was apprehended by Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The four victims were able to make it back to shore with their lives but Logan Farquhar lost his leg. Before first responders were able to arrive on scene, Inman placed a tourniquet on Farquhar's leg which doctors commented that could have saved him from bleeding out.

The boats involved in the accident were taken into custody by Florida law enforcement. Given the ongoing investigation, the name of the ski boat's operator has not yet been released. Farquhar's medical bills will likely be significant. Inman set up a GoFundMe page to help with these medical expenses.


Action News Jax

Photo Credit:


June 24, 2016

Florida Boating Under the Influance of Alcohol Accidents

Florida-Alcohol-Boating-Accident-Lawyer.jpgBoating accidents in Florida mostly occur during the summer months. The bays and rivers along Florida 1,197 miles of coastline has many sand bars where people congregate to enjoy the warm weather. This vast coastline brings many boaters and boating accidents. Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that there were 737 boating accidents last year and nearly half involved collisions. This is 103 more accidents than in 2014. Out of the 737 accident, 55 boaters tragically lost their lives.

It is no secret that some boat operators become intoxicated. As it is often said, drinking and boating do not mix. Florida has a breath alcohol level of 0.08 for a boat operator to be intoxicated. When an alcohol related boating accident occurs, the operator typically has two legal problems. The first is criminal, the second is civil. Civil law is designed to monetarily compensate someone who was injured or family members for the loss of a loved one. Compensation for an injured person may include damages for pain and suffering, lost income and medical bills. Compensation for someone who lost a close family member may include mental pain and suffering as well as loss of financial support, companionship.

Continue reading "Florida Boating Under the Influance of Alcohol Accidents" »