Courthouse News Service reports on a disturbing story of Carnival allegedly over-serving alcohol to a passenger who fell off the cruise ship and then not taking reasonable steps to rescue the overboard woman.
The case involves cruise passenger "Sarah." As Courthouse News explains:
"After Carnival cruises got her so drunk she fell overboard, and eyewitnesses reported it, the captain refused to turn around the ship for 90 minutes, then refused to airlift her to hospital to treat her fractured bones."
The incident occurred aboard the Carnival Destiny in October of last year. Sarah was cruising to Jamaica with her fiancé and her friend Rebecca. We wrote about the incident when it happened: Why Did Carnival Delay Rescuing An Overboard Passenger From The Destiny?
The lawsuit alleges that a bartender kept pushing drinks on her. To encourage more alcohol sales, the Carnival bartender offered them free $5 coupons for the ship’s casino. As a result, Sarah became "extremely intoxicated" and fell into the ocean but not before first striking a life boat during her 100 foot fall.
Her injuries included what is describes as "fractured orbital bones, lung contusions, hypothermia, fractured ribs, dissection of the carotid artery, heart arrhythmia, broken optical shelves, blood clots in her eyes, arms, and legs, as well as extreme hematomas all over her body."
Sarah’s friend, fiance and others on the ship saw and/or heard her fall into the ocean and immediately notified several Carnival staff members. Carnival refused and delayed before they turned the ship to cruise ship around and eventually found her nearly two hours in the ocean, severely injured and without a life vest.
But the woman’s ordeal was not over. Carnival refused to airlift her to a hospital, but diverted the cruise to Key West, where "doctors explained that they did not have the equipment to handle the severe trauma that plaintiff had suffered. They also stated that the plaintiff should have been air evacuated from the cruise ship directly to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami."
The story was also covered by Cruise Critic, and the members of that on-line cruise site are blaming Sarah for not exercising "personal responsibility."
Bur cruise lines are considered to be persons under the law. Cruise lines have responsibility to their guests. There is case law in Florida that cruise lines face liability when they over-serve passengers past the point of intoxication which appears to be the case if the allegations are true. Plus it’s inexcusable to delay a couple of hours before trying to rescue an overboard passenger, whether they are drunk or not.
People may scoff at the case but Carnival earns hundreds of millions of dollars pushing alcohol on its huge fleet of cruise ships. It faces a multi-million dollar exposure in a case with such egregious allegations.