Recently in Maritime Wrongful Death Category

October 14, 2016

24 Year-Old Jet Skier Killed in Crash Off Captiva Island

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.

Victim Identified in Captiva Jet Skiing Accident, nbc-2, October 11, 2016.
1 Dead After Jet Ski Crash off Captiva, wink news, October 10, 2016.

September 25, 2016

Florida Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez Along with Two Others Dies in Boating Accident

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.***

New details are emerging from this tragedy. It is being reported that the boat involved in the accident is a 32-foot SeaVee owned by one of Fernandez's friends. A Coast Guard patrol boat from Station Miami Beach spotted the overturned vessel on Government Cut's north jetty at 3:15 a.m. High speed is expected to be a contributing factor in the accident. SeaVee center console boats can reach top speeds of 55 to 65 miles per hour according to the manufacturer. The law requires all vessels be operated at a safe speed so that it can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions. Lights from Miami Beach could also have been a factor in the operator's inability to see the jetty. LED cockpit lights may have also played a role in decreasing the operator's ability to observe the jetty. It is unknown if the vessel was equipped with radar, but if it was, the law requires the use of that radar to its fullest extent to determine the risk of collision.

***UPDATE - Sept. 26, 2:30pm***

Miami residents Emilio Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, have been identified as the other to victims of yesterday's boating tragedy. Macias' family has set up a GoFundMe page for his funeral expenses, describing him as an "amazing son, brother, grandson, boyfriend, cousin, friend." Rivero's family also set up a GoFundMe page for his funeral expenses, describing him as a "beautiful angel" who was "full of life, full of love, and full of happiness. Rivero and Macias both graduated from Miami's Braddock Senior High School in 2009.

We will continue to provide updates as more information is learned.

Photo Credit:

September 22, 2016

Florida Boater Drowns in the Nassau River

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

September 19, 2016

Second Crewmembers Dies in Norwegian Breakaway Lifeboat Drill Accident

Norwegian-Breakaway-Falling-Death.jpgA second crewmember has died from the July 20th incident wherein a lifeboat fell from the NCL operated Norwegian Breakaway while docked at Kings Wharf, Bermuda. As previously reported by The Maritime Law Blog, four crewmembers fell into the water when a lifeboat they were manning during a drill broke from its tether. Four of the crewmembers were taken to an area hospital were Diogenes Carpio died from his injuries. One of there other crewmembers, Ben Buenaventura, who was a waiter aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, was medevaced to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami wherein he was admitted into the intensive care unit. It was reported that Mr. Buenaventura suffered a traumatic brain injury along with fractured legs, hip and right arm. After spending over a month in intensive care, Mr. Buenaventura succumbed to his injuries.

NCL is not the only cruise line that had a fatal lifeboat drill in recent months. On September 13th, a seaman died when a lifeboat fell from Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas while calling on Marseilles, France.

Photo Credit: The Royal Gazette

September 13, 2016

Royal Caribbean Crew Member Killed and Four Injured in Safety Drill Accident

lifeboat falls from fifth deck of Harmony of the Seas.jpgOne crew member was killed and four others were injured-two critically, after a lifeboat became detached and fell from the fifth deck of the Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas during a security drill while the ship was docked in Marseille, France. The lifeboat is estimated to have fallen from a height of approximately 32 feet with the five men inside of it. The man killed is reportedly a 42-year-old man from the Philippines.

The Harmony of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship at 1,188 feet from bow to stern it is longer than the Eiffel Tower. The ship is cruising the Mediterranean and is expected to continue its sail to Naples, Italy.

Earlier this year, we reported on a similar accident that occurred aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, which resulted in the death of a crew member and injuries to three other crew members.

Sources and Photo Credit:

Harmony of the Seas Death: One Person Killed and Four Injured after Accident on World's Biggest Cruise Liner, Independent, September 13, 2016.
Royal Caribbean Crew Member Dies and Four Others Injured During Lifeboat Drill on Harmony of the Seas
, Royal Caribbean Blog, September 13, 2016.
Harmony of the Seas accident: One Dead, Four hurt in Lifeboat Crash, BBC News, September 13, 2016.

September 10, 2016

NCL Crewmember Missing from the Norwegian Pearl Cruise Ship

Crewmember-Overboard-Norwegian-Pearl.jpgIt is being reported that a 25-year-old female crew member went overboard from the Norwegian Pearl on the morning of September 8th and is currently missing. The cruise ship, operated by Miami, Florida based, NCL, was navigating through Lynn Canal off the coast of Southeast Alaska when the crewmember went overboard. The crewmember was reported missing from cabin. The ship's security staff confirmed the crewmember went overboard upon review of the ship's CCTV surveillance system.

The cruise ship notified the Coast Guard that the crewmember went overboard. The 17th Coast Guard District command center coordinated a search and rescue mission including helicopter crews, response boat crews and the cutter Liberty. The Alaska State Trooper participated in the search with a fixed-wing aircraft. After looking for the crewmember for 42 hours, covering 340 square miles and using 13 different search patterns, the Coast Guard suspended the search at 4:28 p.m. September 10th. The fate of the crewmember is unknown.

September 7, 2016

Coast Guard Reports Crews Searching for Woman Who Fell Off Carnival Cruise Ship

Carnival-Ecstasy-Passenger-Overboard.JPGThe Coast Guard tweeted this morning that crews are searching for a 32-year-old woman who reportedly fell of the Carnival Cruise ship Ecstasy 27 miles Southwest of Freeport, Bahamas. The woman is said to have fallen off the ship's Verandah deck around 2:30 AM Wednesday, September 07, 2016. The search and rescue operation is made up of a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane and the Coast Guard Cutter Gannet. The Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber was also diverted to assist in the search and rescue. The ship was leaving Nassau and heading towards Charleston, South Carolina, where it was scheduled to arrive on Thursday. In addition to Coast Guard assets searching for the missing women, maritime law also requires the cruise ship to conduct a search and rescue operation until revealed.

Sources: U.S. Coast Guard Newsroom

Photo Credit:

September 6, 2016

Texas Man Dies in Jet Ski Accident During Shore Excursion

slide3.jpgA cruise ship passenger traveling onboard the Carnival Splendor died last Wednesday due to a Jet Ski accident at Cockleshell Bay in Sports, the 40-year-old man from Texas rented a Jet Ski and while jet skiing had some difficulty falling from the personal watercraft into the water. Friends assisted him to shore and Emergency Medical Services transferred him to Joseph N. France General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. We extend our deepest sympathies to his loved ones. Local agencies are investigating this incident.

Cruise lines often offer various watersports as shore excursions. While many cruise ship passengers believe that excursions offered by the cruise lines on their websites are operated by the cruise lines themselves that is rarely the case. Cruise lines reject all responsibility for the negligence of independent contractors despite the control asserted over these companies and the large profits earned by the cruise lines from shore excursions.

We have successfully represented cruise ship passengers for injuries sustained while participating in shore excursions asserting various theories of liability against the cruise lines including negligence for failure to warn of dangerous or defective conditions and negligent selection and/or retention of shore excursion operators. For more information, please visit our Cruise Ship Passenger Shore Excursion Injury & Accident Page on our Website or Contact Us.


Cruise Ship Passenger Dies From Jet Ski Accident in St Kitts
, Cruise Hive, September 3, 2016

Jet Ski Accident Claims Life of Tourist, SKNVibes, September 1, 2016

August 22, 2016

45-Year-Old Man Found Dead on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship


A 45-year-old American man was found dead in his cabin on board the Grandeur of the Seas on Saturday, August 20. No foul play is suspected at this time but Bermuda police continue to investigate the man's death along with ship authorities. We extend our deepest condolences to the man's family.

The Grandeur of the Seas was sailing an 8-night Bermuda and Bahamas cruise and is scheduled to arrive in home port in Baltimore, Maryland on August 27.

We will continue to monitor this story and report on any developments.

Sources and Photo Credit:

Photo: Tony Hisgett, Creative Commons

Police Confirm Death of Cruise Ship Passenger, Bernews, August 21, 2016

Cruise Ship Passenger Found Dead in Cabin, The Royal Gazette, August 21, 2016

August 16, 2016

Woman Survives Fall off Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship

A 32 year-old woman traveling aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship fell overboard last Wednesday after leaning too far over the guard rail of the fourth deck while sightseeing. The height from the fourth deck to the water is estimated to be 65 feet. Her parents, reportedly traveling with her did not realize she was missing until hours later when she did not return from a stroll around the ship. Her family and more than 100 volunteers searched the ship to no avail. Police gave her parents little hope of her survival if she had fallen from the deck to the water.

Incredibly, the woman survived the fall into the icy water and drifted at sea for 38 hours without a life jacket. She reported yelling for help to other passing ships but was not heard. It was not until Friday morning that a fishing boat spotted her and rescued her. She was taken to the hospital to treat blisters on her arms from jellyfish stings and was released on Saturday.

The ship was on a five day cruise from Shanghai to South Korea and Japan.

Sources and Photo Credit:
Woman Survives 38 Hours in the Sea after Falling from Cruise Ship, The Telegraph, August 16, 2016.
Woman Falls Overboard on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship, Starts at 60, August 16, 2016.
Woman Survives Fall from Ship Which Leaves Her Drifting At Sea for 38 Hours, Mirror, August 16, 2016.

August 15, 2016

Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas Returns to Port Due to Medical Emergency in Pool

Royal Caribbean ANTHEM OF THE SEAS makes news again after a 72-year-old woman was reportedly having trouble swimming in one of the ship's pools. The woman was initially taken to the ship's infirmary but she required further medical treatment so the ship sped up to arrive into Cape Liberty, New Jersey for a medical evaluation.

According to the Jersey Journal, a Philadelphia man aboard the ship witnessed the incident and said that when he and his wife arrived in the area the woman had just been pulled from the water, was unresponsive and had a pale/purple look.

The woman's condition remains unknown.

Sources and Photo Credit:

Royal Caribbean Ship Returns to Bayonne After Woman's Medical Emergency in Pool
, The Jersey Journal, August 13, 2016.

August 4, 2016

Teen Injured After Jet Ski Collides With Channel Marker


A 16 year-old teenager was airlifted yesterday after he was thrown off a jet ski when it struck a channel marker. The teenager was jet skiing near Fred Howard Park in the Intracoastal Waterway. His condition is not known at this time.

According to reports from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a nearby boater assisted in getting the young man help. The FWC is currently investigating the accident. We sincerely wish the young man a speedy recovery.

This is the second accident of this type this week alone. On Sunday, a Miami man was killed when he was involved in a nearly identical accident near the Julia Tuttle causeway.

It is important to remember that personal watercrafts are not equipped with brakes and thus operators have to be extremely wary of objects on the water, such as channel markers, other PWCs and boats.

Additionally, the likely first instinct when encountering an object is to let go of the throttle and turn the handlebars in another direction to avoid the object. However, to turn the PWC you have to advance the throttle to provide the thrust necessary for it to turn. Thus, if a person lets go of the throttle, the PWC will continue to move in the direction it was going when the person released the throttle, regardless of the direction the person moves the handle bars.

We strongly recommend anyone engaged in recreational boating or watersport activities to obtain training prior to such activities. It can really mean the difference between life and death.


Good Samaritan Pulls Injured Jet Skier Out of Water, Teen Airlifted to Hospital, ABC Action News, August 2, 2016.

August 1, 2016

Man Killed in Personal Watercraft Accident

0-417-green-marker.jpgA man was killed Sunday, July 31, 2016 when the personal watercraft he was operating slammed into a channel marker causing him to be thrown off the vessel and to hit the marker. Two women riding with him were also thrown off the watercraft. The accident occurred near Picnic Island, south of the Julia Tuttle Causeway. All three persons involved were rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital where the man was pronounced dead. One of the women sustained serious injuries to one of her legs. The other woman suffered bruises and has already been released from the hospital.

According to reports from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the man was going in circles at a high rate of speed and he lost control of the Jet Ski hitting the channel marker. FWC officials continue to investigate the crash.

We extend our deepest condolences to his family and a speedy recovery to the two women injured.

Florida boating safety laws differ as to the requirements for operating a personal watercraft making a distinction based upon age, residency, and whether the person owns the watercraft or is renting it from a livery. However, we strongly urge anyone operating a personal watercraft to participate in a boating safety course to learn about navigation rules, reckless operation, environmental concerns, propulsion, steering, etc.


Personal Watercraft Accident in Picnic Island Leaves 1 Dead, 2 Injured, Miami Herald , July 31, 2016.

1 Killed, 2 Injured in Personal Watercraft Accident Off Miami, WSVN 7 News, July 31, 2016.

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 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.