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Articles Posted in Maritime Wrongful Death

Knorr-Overboard-MSC-Divina-300x193Authorities are reporting a 74-year-old passenger on-board MSC Divina is missing and presumed overboard.  The man’s disappearance comes just days after a 22-year-old man and a 74-year-old woman went overboard the Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas and the Queen Mary 2, respectively.

According to reports, Mr. Jeon Pierre Knorr, a French citizen traveling with his wife stepped onto the room’s balcony for some fresh air at approximately 3:00 a.m. on Monday and did not return. When his wife got up several hours later, she realized he had not returned and reported him missing.

The circumstances of his fall, however, remain unknown.  Cruise ship officials searched the entire cruise ship and made callouts through the public announcement system with no success.

Christmas-Miami-Boat-Accident-300x171A boating accident occurred in Miami’s Biscayne Bay between Northeast 87th Street and Northeast Bayshore Drive Christmas night.  Witnesses state that a boat carrying fourteen people flipped over after hitting a wave while trying to enter a canal at the western edge of the bay.  An area resident who witnessed the incident stated that everyone was at the front of the boat.  Other witnesses stated that they did not see any of the boater wearing life jackets.  Another resident, Ron Stamey, attempted to help the group from his kayak.  He was able to get four of the fourteen out of the water.  Ultimately, Miami Fire Rescue responded to the scene.  Unfortunately, a woman was trapped under the boat.  By the time the woman was freed, she did not have a pulse and was not breathing.  The victim, identified as 80-year-old Lidia Tapanes, was transported to North Shore Medical Center.  Her condition is currently unknown.

 

 

sEARCH-FOR-MISSING-BODY-300x169Monday afternoon, around 3:30 p.m., a man disappeared while jet skiing in the waters of Blue Lagoon in Miami, Florida in the area off the Dolphin expressway east of 57th avenue. It is unknown how the accident occurred but 32-year-old Manuel Aponte was heading back to shore with other riders when his jet ski came to a sudden stop and he flew head first into the water and vanished.  According to witnesses, it was as if he had hit something with his jet ski because the jet ski stopped short and Mr. Aponte flew over it landing head first into the water. Fellow jet ski riders attempted to find Mr. Aponte without success.  Monday evening and Tuesday Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission continued the search for Mr. Aponte’s body until it was recovered at 7:00 a.m. this morning.  The investigation into how the accident occurred is ongoing and will likely continue for weeks.

Mr. Aponte was a husband and father of a 1-year-old boy. He was born in Cuba and had immigrated to the United States 9 years ago.  We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

Passenger-Overboard-Royal-Caribbean-Cruise-Ship-300x225A 22 year-old male Royal Caribbean passenger on-board the Independence of the Seas was reported as having intentionally jumped off the ship’s twelfth deck in the early morning hours of Thursday, December 22, 2016.  The ship was approximately 33 miles southeast of Key Largo and was heading back to South Florida after a four-night trip.

The ship contacted the U.S. Coast Guard which took over the search of the man by air and sea.  After a 38-hour search for the missing man, the Coast Guard suspended the search Friday afternoon.

Just a day after the 22-year-old man was reported missing, news sources reported a 74-year-old British woman on-board the Queen Mary 2 ocean liner was missing and presumed overboard. The ship had left New York Thursday morning and was en route to St. Martin in the Caribbean.  The woman was reported missing in the early hours of Friday morning when the ship was around 100 miles south east of Atlantic City in New Jersey.  The search for the woman was called off Friday evening.

Passenger Overboard Asian Based Cruise ShipA 60-year-old Singaporean male passenger on-board the SuperStar Gemini cruise ship is missing after falling overboard near Babi Besar Island, located off the Malaysian south-east coast.  Mr. Wuan Poh Fatt was traveling from Singapore to Penang with five others.  According to on-board closed-circuit camera footage, Mr. Wuan fell overboard on Sunday, November 27, 2016 at 11:05 p.m. However, it was not discovered that he was missing until the next day when he failed to respond to announcements.  After a headcount confirmed he was missing, the ship’s Captain contacted Malaysian authorities who began a search of the area. According to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, search and rescue operations are ongoing.

The SuperStar Gemini is a 1,750 passenger cruise ship operated by Star Cruises, an Asian based cruise line.  In October 2015, reports surfaced of a 30-year-old Indian national man who disappeared from the SuperStar Gemini while traveling in the Strait of Malacca. The man was traveling with his extended family and they too did not realize he was missing until the next day.  The cruise line claimed the man had committed suicide but the family strongly disputed that allegation instead suggesting he had been the victim of foul play due to a fight he had with one of the ship’s officers.

On average there are 20-30 overboard incidents each year.  Although technology exits to alert cruise ships of a passengers falling overboard, not all cruise lines make use of the technology.  Additionally, despite heavily promoting alcohol use, cruise ships often have minimal security personnel guarding the ship.

British Passenger Killed in Bus Crash Azure ship.jpgA British passenger traveling on board the P&O Cruises ship Azura was killed last Wednesday as a result of a collision involving a bus operated by a shore excursion provider in the island of Dominica. Nine other passengers of the twelve passengers traveling on the bus were also injured as a result of the accident. They were treated at local hospitals and most have been discharged since. The cause of the accident is not yet known.

The Azura ship set sail from Southampton on October 28, 2016 with more than 3,000 passengers on board.

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Jose-Fernandez-boat-accident.jpgIt has been a month since Florida Marlins’ pitcher Jose Fernandez and his friends Eduardo Rivero and Emilio Macias lost their lives in a tragic boating accident in Miami Beach. Shortly after the tragedy, law enforcement reported the boat involved in the crash with the north jetty of Government Cut did not belong to Fernandez. It was later confirmed that Fernandez did, in fact, own the vessel. It has been also confirmed that hours before the accident, Fernandez was drinking at American Social, a Miami area restaurant and bar. A toxicology report recently released indicates that Fernandez had a blood alcohol level of 0.147 which is nearly twice Florida’s legal boating limit of 0.08. The same toxicology report concluded that he also cocaine in his system. Though Fernandez was legally intoxicated, it is now being suggested that he was not operating the boat at the time of the accident. This theory is based upon a witness telling law enforcement that he was on the phone with Fernandez near the time the boat struck the jetty.

Who is Responsible

Though this the accident occurred on a private boat mere yards from shore, a civil case concerning who is labile will be governed by maritime law. Maritime law is an amalgamation of decisional law dating back to ancient Greece supplemented, at times, by non-conflicting state law. From the facts known to date, there are four potential sources of liability: the boat owner, the boat operator, the alcohol server and the government.
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Man Killed in Jet Ski Crash Captiva Island.jpgA 24-year-old man identified as Hector Santiago was killed on Monday night when the Jet Ski he was riding crashed into a piling, ripping off the handlebars and throwing him into the water. Rescue personnel searched for the man for 30 minutes before he was located. Unfortunately, by then, efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. The crash occurred near South Seas Island Resort; Florida Fish and Wildlife officers could not confirm whether Mr. Santiago and his girlfriend, whom he was vacationing with, were guests at the resort but did confirm that the Jet Ski was rented.

No information is yet known on where the man rented the Jet Ski from or at what time but pursuant to Florida law, a person may not operate a personal watercraft at any time between the hours from one-half hour after sunset to one-hour before sunrise. Based on the time the accident took place, it appears that the Jet Ski was rented in violation of Florida law.

Investigation into this accident is ongoing and we will continue to update this story as we learn more information. We extend our sympathies to Mr. Santiago’s family and loved ones.

Jose-Fernandez-Boat-Accident.jpgFlorida Marlins’ pitcher Jose Fernandez is one of three people who died Sunday morning in a boating accident off Miami Beach. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to a report of a 32-foot boat that crashed into the north jetty of the Government Cut inlet. Fire Rescue Chief, Todd Garofalo, stated that an “initial search [found] three victims – two on top of the water, one underneath the boat…” The identities of the other victims have not been released. Details on how the boat ended up on the jetty and who was the operator are unknown at this time. Government Cut is the main waterway connecting the Port of Miami to the Atlantic Ocean.

Fernandez, 24, was born in Cuba and emigrated to the United States with his family in 2008 after three prior unsuccessful defection attempts. At just 15 years of age, he was jailed for defection. According to news sources, Fernandez saved his mother from drowning on the journey to Mexico after leaving Cuba. Fernandez and his family settled in Tampa where he attended Alonso High School. He was a 2011 first-round draft pick of the Marlins and was selected to play in the National League All-Star game in his rookie season. Last week, Fernandez announced he and his girlfriend, Maria Arias were expecting a child. During today’s news conference the Marlins announced the couple was expecting a baby girl. We are saddened by the tragic loss of a stellar player and human being and offer our condolences to his family and the families of the two victims involved in this accident.

***UPDATE – Sept. 25, 2:30 p.m.***

Nassau-River-Drowning.jpgIt is being reported from Fernandina Beach, Florida that a boater has drowned near the Goffinsville Park and Ramp in the Nassau River while launching an aluminum fishing boat. The man, identified as 55-year-old, Anthony Rankin, from Yulee, Florida. Lt. Tony Wright of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission stated that Mr. Rankin and another man were launching a fishing boat near 9 a.m. Thursday morning. The victim stayed in the boat while the other man parked the motor vehicle and trailer. A witness on the scene reported that Mr. Rankin “gave too much throttle” causing him to go overboard. Mr. Rankin attempted to hold onto the circling boat while in the water before letting go and attempting to swim to shore. While swimming to shore it is reported that Mr. Rankin “struggled and went under the water.” Bystanders pulled Mr. Rankin from the water and preformed CPR until medics arrived. He was taken to Baptist Medical Center Nassau where he died.

Photo Credit: News Leader