Articles Tagged with “Bernice Kraftcheck”

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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.

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Leesfield Scolaro recently filed two lawsuits against Celebrity Cruises and Caribbean Water Sports for the wrongful death and catastrophic personal injuries sustained by two cruise passengers in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

To read more about the lawsuit against the cruise line and parasailing tour operator: Lawsuit Filed against Celebrity Cruises and Parasail Operator for the Wrongful Death of Cruise Passenger

Below is a news report broadcasted on the local CBS affiliate.

 

 

After this tragic incident, parasailing excursions, which were traditionally sold to passengers before a cruise on the cruise’s websites or during a cruise aboard the ship, were indefinitely suspended by the majority of the cruise lines, including Celebrity.

Celebrity Cruises, owner and operator of the ship Celebrity Eclipse, announced the cancellation of all parasailing excursions in the Caribbean indefinitely less than a week after the death of one of its passengers.

Celebrity’s Public Relations Department made sure that the announcement at the time was well-publicized and relayed in as many media outlets as possible. “All parasailing shore excursions in the Caribbean have been cancelled indefinitely, pending the outcome of the investigation,” said a Celebrity Cruises spokesperson.

Celebrity Parasail.jpgIt was surprising today to find out that, with a simple search of Celebrity’s watersports activities, parasailing excursions are still being sold to cruise passengers.

While Celebrity’s PR Department made sure to that its announcement last November canceling all parasailing activities was published in every newspaper and relayed by every media outlet in the aftermath of the death of a Celebrity passenger, there has not been any news release or news conference announcing that parasailing excursions have resumed.

Celebrity has not communicated to members of the public and customers what its investigation revealed and the steps taken to ensure that such a tragedy does not occur again.

To read more about the dangers of parasailing and prior cases of parasail operator negligence: Lawsuit Filed against Parasail Operator in Wrongful Death of Cruise Passenger
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For any media inquiry, please contact Ira Leesfield by email or by phone at 305-854-4900.

Leesfield Scolaro filed a lawsuit in federal Court against Celebrity Cruises and Caribbean Watersports & Tours, for their respective alleged negligence which resulted in the wrongful death of cruise passenger Bernice Kraftcheck.

Celebrity_Eclipse.jpg
On November 12, 2011, Bernice Kraftcheck and her daughter Danielle Haese boarded the Celebrity Eclipse for an Eastern Caribbean Cruise departing from Miami, Florida. During the cruise, the mother and daughter purchased a shore excursion offered aboard the cruise ship, a parasail excursion which would take place after the ship docked in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Tragically, the parasail excursion which was supposed to be a thrilling experience turned out to be a nightmare for the Kraftcheck family. After Bernice and her daughter were sent up in the sky by the parasail operators, the rope broke off due to heavy winds and dangerous weather conditions. This resulted in the two occupants to plummet into the water at a very high rare of speed. The force of the impact caused Danielle to sustain massive injuries, her mother Bernice sustained fatal injuries and ultimately passed away.

A lawsuit was filed today in Federal Court for the alleged negligence of Celebrity Cruises and Caribbean Watersports & Tours.

As a cruise operator who offers shore excursions to its passengers, Celebrity owes a duty of reasonable care for the health, welfare and safety of its passengers. Click here to obtain a copy of the complaint.

Cruise lines can be held legally liable when they advertise shore excursions while representing to members of the public and to its paying passengers that shore excursions are safe and a passenger sustains an injury as a result of the excursion operator’s negligence.

caribbean watersports.jpgIn the event that cruise lines select an excursion operator and fail to verify the operator’s safety policies and procedures, cruise lines will be held liable for their negligence and misrepresentation.

In its promotional literature, Celebrity Cruises represent the following to members of the public, potential cruisers, and passengers already aboard one of their cruise ships:

“This is your vacation – and with our Shore Excursions you can be sure it will be one to remember.”

“To purchase your Shore Excursions, view full tour descriptions, images and videos, or download our Shore Excursion brochures

“Whether you are looking for a high-energy adventure or a laid back, relaxing day, we have a Shore Excursion for you

Our shore excursions provide the best each port has to offer with a wide variety of activities and options to chose from”

We’ve done the work of planning your day so that you don’t have to – just choose which adventure to embark on

On its website, Celebrity made further representations regarding “our Shore Excursions”, including:

“Whether you prefer the thrill of parasailing – soaring 800 feet over the beaches below – or just basking on those beaches, Celebrity offers the perfect activity for every sun lover

“There are lots of things you can do to make this cruise all about you . . . looking for something to do off of the ship? We have lots of different shore and land excursions in every port

We offer many different shore excursions from every port. They are a great way to experience the culture and history of the various ports of call”

“When you give us your precious vacation days, we give you a world of modern luxury. That means you don’t have to worry about a single thing

“From our exhilarating shore excursions at every port, to our inspiring onboard activities, everything is created with your ultimate enjoyment in mind.”

No matter which of our incredible shore excursions you choose, you will be surrounded by some of the most astonishing vibrant and beautiful sites anywhere in the world.”

Our Shore Excursions will help you discover the hidden retreats and unspoiled masterpiece mother nature created”

Celebrity offers a wide variety of excursions

Celebrity passengers rely upon the cruise line’s representations regarding shore excursions offered on Celebrity’s website and aboard its cruise ships.
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Bernice Kraftcheck, a Celebrity Cruises passenger, fell to her death while parasailing in tandem with her daughter off the coast of St. Thomas. Danielle Haese, Brenice’s 34 year old daughter was also very seriously injured during the incident.

After several days of investigating the facts of this tragic incident, the theory that squalls and wind gusts that afternoon may have caused the mother-and-daughter tandem to fall from the sky and crash into the waters of St Thomas. Celebrity Cruises announced that it was terminating parasailing excursions pending the result of the investigation. Other Cruise companies followed suit and Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have also suspended their parasailing excursions across the Caribbean. Carnival Cruise also canceled its parasailing excursions in St. Thomas, but not in the rest of the Caribbean.

parasailing1.gifBernice Kraftcheck and her daughter were passengers on a Celebrity Cruise and booked a cruise excursion through the cruise company’s website. Cruise lines offer passengers to book excursions, such as parasailing, either directly on the cruise lines’ website, or while on the ship at any time during the cruise.

Deadly and catastrophic accidents occur every year when cruise passengers are on excursions, and this incident, as tragic as it was, was not the first time a cruise passenger died while on a cruise excursion.

The cruise lawyers of Leesfield Scolaro have been representing passengers who have been injured during shore excursions, as well as the families of cruise passengers who died during an excursion. These shore excursions are operated by companies independent from the Cruise companies. There is however a financial relationship between the cruise lines and the local tour companies who offer excursions to cruise passengers. Cruise lines offer their paying passengers to book directly from the cruise lines’ websites an excursion, or to book it at the excursion desk located on each and every cruise ship. In exchange, the local tour companies agree to pay the cruise lines a percentage of their sales that are generated by cruise lines.
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