The Miami Herald and CBS-4 are reporting that the NCL Epic cruise ship returned to port in Miami late last night shortly after leaving on a Caribbean cruise due to a medical emergency involving a passenger.
The Miami Herald's article "Emergency Forces Cruise Ship's Return to Miami - Passenger May Have Died" stops short of stating that the passenger died. But numerous on line sources are indicating that the emergency involved a passenger death.
The newspaper's story is based on comments posted on what is described as a "popular cruising website" (probably CruiseCritic.com). The comments apparently suggest that a 21 year old passenger may have died due to an allergic reaction to something he ate. A number of police officers boarded the cruise ship when it returned to port in Miami, and there is alot of speculation about what happened.
There has been no information released by NCL, which adds to the speculation. This cruise line public relations contacts are Susan Robison, vice president, corporate communications & media promotions (305) 436-4762 firstname.lastname@example.org, and AnneMarie Mathews, director, public relations (305) 436-4799 email@example.com.
And its vice president of sales and passenger services, Andy Stuart, is a regular on Twitter @nclandy and tweeted non stop when the Epic made its inaugural voyage a few months ago.
Cruise lines like NCL lose alot of credibility when the only time you hear from them is when they are selling cruises and they disappear when trouble strikes.
A travel agent and blogger's website Chris Cruises has the following statement from NCL:
“After setting sail on a seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise yesterday at approximately 4 pm, Norwegian Epic returned to the Port of Miami at approximately 12:45 am for a medical disembarkation. While the ship was approximately 40 nautical miles from Miami, a guest on board suffered a heart attack and passed away. All local authorities were notified and some met the ship upon arrival. The ship departed at approximately 2:45 am. Norwegian Cruise Line extends its sincerest thoughts and prayers to the guest’s family during this difficult time.”
Although the official NCL statement references a "heart attack," the FBI stated that the passenger had an allergic reaction to food.
A passenger on the cruise left a comment below that the passengers ate peanuts in a cookie.
The comments regarding the incident at Cruise Critic are here.
The passenger has been identified as Kevin Edouard of Spring Valley, New York.
August 20 2010 Update:
A news station in Tampa reports that NCL confirmed that Mr. Edouard suffered a severe allergic reaction to peanuts: "Epic Passenger's Allergy Believed to be Peanut."
August 23, 2010 update:
Passengers on the cruise are commenting that another passenger died and a brawl broke out during the cruise.
Please leave a comment below if you are on the cruise or have information about what happened.