Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Published on:

On CBS This Morning, Leesfield Scolaro Maritime Law Attorney Carol Finklehoffe said that if Cruise Lines have deck attendants selling drinks and employees watching over the water slides, it is reasonable to have lifeguards around the pools as well:

This latest tragedy has placed Carnival Cruise Lines back in the spotlight. The loss of Qwentyn Hunter in one of the Carnival Victory’s pools prompts many to question whether conspicuous signage that there are “no lifeguards on duty” is realistically enough to fulfill the cruise line’s duty of care to provide a safe and proper place to bathe or swim.

Published on:

Over the weekend, a 6-year-old child, who was on a 4-day cruise with his family, drowned in the swimming pool of the Carnival Cruise ship. The young child was playing with his 10-year-old brother when the incident happened at approximately 4:45 pm while the pool was open to passengers.

The Victory returned to Miami on Monday morning, and the pool was closed off to passengers with police crime scene tape. Very limited information has been made available to members of the public other than Miami-Dade Police, which is investigating the matter, has released the name of the child, Qwentyn Hunter.

Clip_20.jpgAccording to witnesses, a person yelled over a microphone to rescue a child from the pool who was seen submerged underwater. As soon as he was taken out of the pool, chest compressions and CPR was performed, but unfortunately the boy never regained consciousness.

Published on:

Last week, Australian authorities confirmed that 24-year-old Jackie Kastrinelis had died aboard the Seven Seas Voyager operated by Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is based out of Miami, along with the other more well-known cruise lines suck as Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruises, Celebrity, or Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Jackie Kastrinelis.jpgDetails of Jackie Kastrinelis’ death have been far and few between. To date, the authorities have confirmed that Jackie’s body was discovered on Sunday in her cabin aboard the cruise ship. While investigators denied the existence of any evidence of foul play, an autopsy was performed Monday morning, leaving the possibility that the young woman’s death may have been caused by drugs or alcohol.

Jackie Kastrinelis was an employee aboard the Seven Seas Voyager. She worked as a singer and performer. She began her working career with Regent Seven Seas Cruise in March 2011 when she was offered a contract to perform for guests aboard ships while cruising around the world. At the time, Ms. Kastrinelis was a recent graduate of the University of Hartford (2010) where she received a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts.

Published on:

On November 7, 2012, Kyle Coleman was arrested and indicted in the parasailing accident which caused the death of Bernice Kraftcheck. Almost a year ago to the day, Coleman, 32, was the captain of a small boat Turtle, in charge of performing parasailing excursions for Caribbean Watersports & Tours, a corporation based out of the U.S. Virgin Island.

Bernice Kraftcheck and her daughter Danielle Haese were on a Celebrity Cruise at the time, aboard the Celebrity Eclipse. They purchased the St. Thomas shore excursion aboard the cruise ship. According to the indictment, when the mother/daughter tandem was lifted up in the parasail, the wind conditions were deteriorating rapidly. Within minutes, the tow-line broke due to increasingly strong winds, and caused the parasail and its two occupants to plummet from the sky and crash into the water. The force of the wind and the water condition were such that the parasail was continuously propelled and dragged the two passengers for several minutes, causing the death of Bernice and serious injuries to her daughter Danielle.

Kyle Coleman.jpgSince these tragic events took place last November, the Coast Guard performed a meticulous investigation by marine casualty investigators and special agents from San Juan. The Coast Guard inspected the vessel and found numerous inadequacies, including an inadequate tow-line, and deficient vessel equipment. The master on the vessel was also unlicensed at the time of the incident. Based on these findings and countless witness accounts, Coleman was arrested and charged by a federal grand jury with being responsible for the accident. The one-count indictment is pursuant to 18 U.S.C.A. § 1115. Misconduct or neglect of ship officers. The statute provides in part that a captain employed on a vessel, by whose misconduct, negligence, or inattention to his duties, the life of any person is destroyed, shall be fined or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

Published on:

This week in Rome, court-appointed experts have presented their 270-page analysis on what truly happened on the evening of January 13, 2012, which saw the cruise liner Costa Concordia hit rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio and finished its course beached on its size. As a result of a series of the captain’s reckless decisions and Costa Cruise Lines’ incompetent employees, 32 people died that night.

concordiarecent.jpgYou can read Cruise Ship Lawyers Blog’s entire account and article on the incident of Costa Concordia here.

The court overseeing the criminal investigation in Rome, Italy, had named and ordered several experts to review the audio and navigational data extracted from the ship’s black box. On Thursday, experts turned in their extensive report to the court, which was leaked the same day in the Italian press.

Published on:

As last reported two months ago, Leesfield Scolaro filed a lawsuit against Princess Cruises on June 5, 2012, on behalf of Fernando Osorio’s parents in the United States District Court Southern District of Florida. The lawsuit is based upon the death of Fernando amd asserts Princess Star’s failure to rescue his vessel in distress, the Fifty Cent, after its crew was alerted by three passengers that they had spotted a small boat adrift over 125 miles from shore, whose occupants were signaling for help.

Fernando Osorio, Adrian Vasquez and Elvis Diaz were fishing off the coast of Rio Hato, Panama, when the engine of the 26-foot panga boat broke down. After being adrift for 15 days and 14 nights without power, the three occupants saw a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean and began signaling and waving t-shirts and life jackets in an attempt to be seen by someone on the large cruise ship.

jeff_gilligan.jpgTheir wish came true when several cruise passengers spotted the three men and the Fifty Cent. The passengers, who were using optical equipment to look for birds alerted a crew member who they asked to alert the Captain immediately. As the passengers listened on, the crew member called the bridge and advised of the disabled boat. During the process, they also showed the crew member the distressed vessel through their optical gear, and he confirmed to them he had seen the same thing they had. To their dismay, nothing happened.

Published on:

The fate of Captain Francesco Schettino of the doomed Costa Concordia cruise ship seems more and more certain with each new piece of evidence is released by the Italian prosecutors.

Cruise Ship Lawyers Blog has covered this incident from the beginning. At first, it was confirmed that Captain Schettino abandoned his ship before all cruise passengers were rescued and safe. Then, the investigators revealed that the Captain delayed the evacuation of the ship and caused the disappearance of more than three dozens of passengers.

The black box of the Costa Concordia was recovered not long after the tragedy took place and members of the public are now being shown what happened on the bridge of the ship as tragedy occurred.

Published on:

We previously reported on the incident that led to the death of 16-year-old Fernando Osorio Rodriguez, who died at sea, five days after his drifting boat came in close contact with the Star Princess, ship operated by Princess Cruises, which failed to render aid to the boat in distress.

On June 5, 2012, as published in the Miami Herald, Leesfield Scolaro sued Princess Cruises and filed its complaint on behalf of Fernando Osorio’s parents in the United States District Court Southern District of Florida.

The complaint is available here.

The lawsuit alleges that, on February 24, 2012, Fernando Osorio and two of his friends boarded the Fifty Cents, a 26-foot panga boat, which is a modest-sized, open, outboard-powered, fishing boat common through the region. The three friends intended to fish off the coast of Panama, but shortly after the group left from Rio Hato, the engine of the Fifty Cents died and the boat drifted out to sea.

latin_2_resize.jpgFernando and his two friends drifted at sea for 15 days and 14 nights without power when on March 10, 2012, the Panga drifted within sight of a large white ship, the Star Princess, which is a luxury cruise ship with a passenger capacity of 2590 and a crew capacity of 1150. At the time the Fifty Cents was so far from shore that it was obvious that it was not fishing, but instead without power and adrift.

Upon seeing the large ship, the three companions repeatedly signaled that they were in distress and in need of rescue, waving their arms, waving a shirt tied to a pole and otherwise signaling to the passengers and crew of the cruise ship their dire predicament.

Three passengers aboard the Star Princess, who were using special optical equipment for bird watching, spotted the Fifty Cents and its occupants signaling for help and quickly recognized that the boat was in distress and that the men were in danger of dying if not rescued. These three passengers immediately reported the dire and life-threatening condition of the occupants of the powerless and drifting fishing boat to a crew member and provided him with their equipment to see for himself. The crew member looked, and acknowledged to the passengers that he recognized that the Fifty Cents was adrift and in a dire emergency state and he in turn reported this emergency situation to the bridge.

Despite this express notification that the Fifty Cents was adrift and in dire distress, as well as the fact that it was in clear view of this modern cruise ship with all of its sophisticated equipment, the Star Princess failed to discharge its duty under the law to render assistance to the stranded vessel and its occupants, literally leaving them to die.
Continue reading

Published on:

As we previously reported, on March 10, 2012, a Princess Cruise ship, the Star Princess, failed to render aid to a drifting vessel. The multiple witness accounts, which have been documented in the media for the past two months, have shown that the cruise ship’s captain either deliberately ignored the call for help or was never made aware of the situation. Neither one of those scenarios is a valid excuse.

Cuba-Florida_map.jpgThis week, a very similar set of circumstances occurred, but thankfully for the occupants of the raft in distress, they were rescued by a cruise ship that was sailing near by. The Disney Fantasy, a cruise ship owned and operated by Disney Cruise, was sailing from Port Canaveral (Florida) to the Cayman Islands on May 26, 2012, when crew-members spotted a small raft near Key West, Florida, with four men aboard.

The ship quickly responded to its duties and rescued the men. “The men were brought aboard the ship and provided with medical attention along with food and water. We are proud of our Disney Fantasy crew members, who skillfully demonstrated their training and commitment to maritime protocols around saving lives at sea,” Disney Cruise Line said in a statement.

These developments are in stark contrast with what occurred last March when the Star Princess failed to rescue a drifting vessel, occupied by three men, including a minor, which eventually resulted in two deaths.

The Star Princess failed to follow Article 98 of the UNCLOS (The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982) which provides that a ship must render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost.

The Star Princess crew was made aware of the drifting vessel by three cruise passengers, who, at the time. were bird-watching, when they spotted the vessel and its three occupants attempting to flag down the large cruise ship by waiving their white t-shirts. The witnesses showed the drifting vessel to a crew-member, they even let him use their bird-watching equipment to confirm the nature of the distress. The crew-member then advised the crew on the bridge of the ship in distress.

Despite the grave concern felt by those who saw the vessel adrift, for some inexplicable reason, the Star Princess did not render any assistance. It never deviated from its course. It never called the Coast Guard for help. It simply continued on with the cruise, to the next Port.
Continue reading

Published on:

Since the tragedy of the Costa Concordia occurred last January off of the coast of “Isola del Giglio”, Costa Cruise Lines has been in a public relations storm that seems never-ending.

Captain Francesco Schettino, the ultimate responsible person aboard the sinking ship, was arrested the day following the events.

This week, the Court of Cassation, the highest court in Italy, confirmed the lower court’s decision to maintain a house arrest order against Schettino. The decision is motivated by several factors that we have discussed in prior articles. Mainly, the Cassation’s judges believe that Schettino has shown little resilience in performing command function or in handling responsibility for the safety of persons under his care. The decision further explains that the Captain of the cruise liner proved to be unable to manage a crisis and to ensure the safety of his passengers and crew (by abandoning ship) and that there would be a risk of a repeat of the disaster if he were given command again. Ultimately, the Court of Cassation seems to agree with the criminal charges Schettino is now facing, which include multiple manslaughter, causing the accident, and abandoning ship.

As a result of the very public downfall of Captain Schettino, Costa Cruise Lines’ public relations’ policy has been very clear. Blame Schettino for his extraordinarily dangerous decisions as Captain and hope to deflect any and all responsibility from the cruise line company. That strategy might have worked initially, but new found information reveals that Costa Cruise may have a systemic problem at hand when it comes to safety practice.
Continue reading

Badges