Contributors

Charles R. Lipcon
Charles R. Lipcon is the firm's founding attorney and has been handling injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims for over 40 years. Read More »
Jason R. Margulies
Jason R. Margulies is an experienced maritime lawyer and an active trial attorney handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims. Read More »
Ricardo V. Alsina
Ricardo V. Alsina is an active trial attorney, handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims. Read More »
Michael A. Winkleman
Mr. Winkleman is an active trial and appellate attorney handling all personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims, as well as complex business disputes. Read More »

Articles Posted in Cruise Disappearances

Coast Guard helicopterOverboard accidents are one of the most common types of accidents onboard cruise ships. Since 1995, a total of 231 overboard accidents have been reported. In the first few months of this year alone, 11 people have been reported missing from cruise ships, some of which were caught on camera falling or jumping overboard, while the circumstances surrounding the other accidents continues to remain a mystery.

Sadly, another overboard accident was recently reported near Florida, and the likelihood of rescuing the victim grows dimmer with each passing day.

According to news reports, the victim was James Miller, 30, of Charleston, South Carolina.  Crew members reported Miller jumped over the railing of the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship, operated by Celebration Cruise Line, while the vessel was en route to its home port in West Palm Beach.

The accident happened around 27 miles east of Delray Beach, which is a relatively short distance to port when considering the likelihood of finding and rescuing the victim.  But while cruise officials argue the Bahamas Celebration crew turned the ship around the moment they realized Miller was missing, by the time they reached the area, Miller was nowhere in sight. Coast Guard members initiated a search for Miller, while the Bahamas Celebration continued along its scheduled itinerary.

Is the cruise ship somehow responsible for this tragedy? According to the family of the missing man, the answer is yes.

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Life saverEvery day this week, our cruise ship accident attorneys have been reporting on several overboard accidents that have taken the lives of several innocent people. Some of these accidents have been captured on the ships’ video surveillance systems, while others we know very little about. What we do know is that so far, one 26-year-old male Royal Caribbean passenger, one 65-year-old male Royal Caribbean passenger, and one 34-year-old Princess Cruises crew member have gone overboard. The 26-year-old passenger and the crew member have reportedly jumped from their vessels, but what about the other victim? Why don’t we have any information on his accident or the moments leading up to it?

Aside from these three tragedies, yet another overboard accident has been brought to our attention. An 88-year-old woman allegedly went overboard from the Holland America cruise ship Veendam while the vessel was sailing off the coast of Mexico on Jan. 3.

Passengers on the same itinerary took to social media to voice their concerns, saying that the incident was shrouded in mystery. Some say the woman committed suicide, but no one was sharing information. Others say the crew announced a “man overboard” emergency and ordered travelers to remain in their cabins.

So what exactly happened?

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SOS man overboard rescue missionThe new cruise year hasn’t exactly started off the way our maritime lawyers had hoped. We were hoping that maybe, just maybe, 2014 would be the year where the cruise industry finally takes a stand against accidents and crimes and puts forth maximum effort to protect both passengers and crew members on their ships. Our attorneys were hoping that perhaps, cruise lines would shift a little of their focus on improving safety technology on their vessels in order to prevent tragic accidents and crimes from happening, or at least to drastically reduce their occurrence rate. With so much new and exciting technology that can help increase maritime safety, including infrared detection systems that can play a vital role in rescuing victims who go overboard, we were really thinking cruise lines might make a significant change for the better.

Unfortunately, 2014 hasn’t started out quite as we had hoped. Instead, there have already been several accidents, including more overboard accidents. Two Royal Caribbean passengers have gone missing in the first week of the New Year. We reported on the matter just last week, when we learned that a 26-year-old Canadian man allegedly “jumped” off the Adventurer of the Seas as the vessel was sailing near Puerto Rico, as per the ship’s video surveillance footage. Then, just days later, another Canadian passenger, this time a 65-year-old man sailing onboard the Independence of the Seas, disappeared in the middle of the night. Police suspect this victim “fell” off the ship, but with the abundance of surveillance cameras on this ship as well as the Adventurer, how is it that we have no concrete knowledge of what happened to him?

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Life saverA few days ago, our maritime accident lawyers reported on a tragic overboard accident on a Royal Caribbean Ship. The victim, a 26-year-old Canadian man, allegedly jumped off the Adventurer of the Seas, one of the largest ships in the Royal fleet, while the vessel was approaching the coast of Puerto Rico over the weekend. The ship’s captain immediately notified maritime authorities when word of the accident got out, but the man could not be saved. His body was recovered last Sunday, and the real reason behind this terrible accident appears to have vanished with him.

While overboard accidents happen more often than the public ever gets to know about, just days after this horrible loss, another Royal Caribbean cruise ship passenger fell overboard. Two disappearances in less than a week isn’t exactly the best way for a cruise line to kick off the New Year. What’s going on with Royal?

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Cruise ship We often hear of tragic cruise passenger disappearances here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., many of which are the result, in whole or in part, of the cruise line’s negligence. Failing to ensure guard rails are tall enough, failing to ensure crew members are stationed on deck to protect passengers from harm, and over serving passengers alcohol can all contribute to a dangerous accident like going overboard. Many times, cruise ship disappearances are also the result of foul play. There have been an untold number of victims who got into altercations with other passengers or crew members and subsequently disappeared.

Though over 200 people have gone missing from cruise ships in the last decade, we aren’t any closer to preventing these tragic accidents. This lack of improvement is not for lack of technology, because there are plenty of ways cruise lines can help stop overboard incidents. There is even a new technology that can detect when and where a passenger goes overboard from a ship so a rescue mission can be initiated right away. Perhaps one of the reasons we aren’t seeing a reduction in the number of deaths as a result of overboard incidents is because cruise lines aren’t investing in this and other preventative technology.

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Coast Guard helicopterOur cruise ship lawyers here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have reported on several accidents that have occurred both on a ship and in port which have led to serious injuries. Some accidents can’t be avoided, but others are due to sheer negligence. When you have a catastrophic accident, like an overboard accident, the cruise line in question is usually at least partially to blame. Whether it’s because they failed to have crew members on site to prevent the incident in the first place, or whether it’s because they failed to have overboard detection systems in place, in most cases, cruise lines are found to have contributed to the accident. Despite the issue of passenger safety that has been brought up time and time again, cruise lines seem to care more about investing their funds on improving entertainment onboard a ship than to improve safety features. And this week, a tragic overboard accident further demonstrates that the cruise industry is very far from being “safe”.

News sources have reported that a passenger has fallen overboard from a Princess Cruises ship this week. The victim, a female passenger, was last seen around 1 p.m. Wednesday. She was sailing aboard the Grand Princess northeast of Hawaii when the accident occurred. However, after reviewing footage of the incident, cruise officials are saying that the woman “intentionally” went overboard.

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Cruise ship deckLast May, an Australian couple went missing after falling overboard from the Carnival Spirit while on a 10-day vacation with family and friends. Despite there being over 600 surveillance cameras throughout the ship, no one actually witnessed what happened to the couple and no plausible explanation had been given as to what circumstances led to the overboard accident. However,  a new theory has emerged on what led to the accident, and it’s one our cruise lawyers agree could have likely occurred.

Just before 9 p.m. on May 8, 30-year-old Paul Rossington and his 27-year-old girlfriend Kristen Schroder, 26 fell overboard from the Carnival Spirit but their bodies were never recovered. The surveillance footage of the incident showed Schroder climbing over the railing of her balcony cabin and standing on the other side facing the ocean. It then shows Schroder going overboard first, then Rossington going overboard shortly after.

After extensive investigations, a solid explanation as to why Schroder  climbed over the railing had not been discovered. Authorities were unable to determine whether she fell accidentally or whether she intended to jump. Rossington was a paramedic and in good shape, so it was likely he went overboard to try and save his girlfriend after witnessing her fall overboard.

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Life saverWhen a traveler boards a cruise ship, the last thing on their mind is whether they will get hurt or not. People from all over the world embark on cruise vacations because they are searching for adventure in new and exciting countries or because they just want to kick back and relax, enjoying the many amenities available on cruise ship. It would be great if everyone who went on a cruise could just relish in only the positive and fun aspects of their vacation. That would certainly save the industry from a lot of negative press, especially all the recent attention that has followed the Carnival Triumph fire and last year’s Costa Concordia capsizing tragedy, and most definitely would save victims from the pain and suffering they have to endure in the wake of an accident.

But alas, the need for a cruise ship injury lawyer is at an all-time high and it seems as though the more accidents that are reported on a ship, the less the industry is doing to reduce them.

It’s not breaking news that cruise ship accidents happen all the time, but it is relatively new to hear about how many accidents really do happen both on the high seas and in port. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of these accidents are actually reported and most do not end well. Accidents can range from a relatively minor slip and fall on a wet deck that only leaves a victim with a few bumps or scratches, to severe incidents like assault that can result in debilitating or fatal injuries. While cruise ship safety doesn’t seem to be improving much, media coverage of these accidents and crimes sure is. Hopefully with greater exposure, cruise lines will get it together and work at finally implementing a solid strategy to protect their guests from harm.

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While cruise ship accidents are increasing in frequency, it’s not every day that a hero emerges from a tragedy.  Although his life came to an early end following a cruise ship overboard accident last week in Australia, paramedic Paul Rossington will always be remembered for his courage, even in his final moments.

Rossington died at 30 years of age two weeks ago while attempting to rescue his girlfriend. Always regarded as an honorable man, the hero jumped off the cruise ship after his girlfriend, who had fallen overboard from the Carnival Spirit. Sadly, neither of the two victims survived the accident, but now, Rossington’s loved ones are paying tribute to the man they say lived a selfless life, always serving the needs of others.

Ambulance service colleagues honored the cruise ship hero at a memorial service in Sydney on Thursday. The paramedic, who worked at Barraba in the New England region of northern NSW, was remembered by his brother Trent as the “bravest, toughest, most honourable man I have ever known.”

His other brother Justin, also praised Rossington’s heroic actions on the night of the tragic overboard accident on May 8, telling him, and several hundred mourners, “You made the ultimate sacrifice.”

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Our cruise ship accident lawyers have just been informed of a critical update in the case of two cruise passengers who went overboard from a Carnival vessel last week. According to the latest reports, the victims appeared to have been fighting just moments before disappearing into the dark waters surrounding Australia.

Paramedic Paul Rossington, 30, and his girlfriend Kristen Schroder, 26, were sailing onboard the Carnival Spirit with family and friends on a 10-day itinerary when tragedy occurred. The couple went overboard on Wednesday night and after scouring a 1,360 square nautical mile area near the scene of the accident,  emergency crews have officially called off the search for the missing cruise passengers on Friday.

Although not much has been revealed about the horrific incident, what we do know as of right now is that the ship’s surveillance footage showed the couple going over a railing mid-deck around the same time. Authorities are still trying to determine whether the passengers fell by accident or jumped to the waters below, but the latest news reports may shed some light on the tragedy.

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