News sources are reporting that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a woman from a Carnival cruise ship in the Atlantic Ocean off Toms River, New Jersey yesterday.

The Coast Guard in Philadelphia was notified by the Carnival Splendor that an 84-year-old Canadian woman fell, and sustained injury to her hip, and needed emergency medical treatment.

A Coast Guard helicopter flew from Atlantic City and medevaced the injured woman from the cruise ship to Atlantic City.

Carnival released the following statement to Cruise Law News:

“On Wednesday night a female guest on the Carnival Splendor in need of immediate medical attention was airlifted by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter shortly after the vessel departed New York on an eight-day cruise. The guest was taken to a shoreside medical facility for further treatment.

Carnival Splendor is sailing on an eight-day cruise that departed New York on Feb. 5 and is scheduled to return on Feb. 13.”

Marine Traffic AIS shows the following tracking for the Splendor:Splendor Cruise Ship AIS

Photo Credit: Wikipedia – top; Marine Traffic – bottom

WFTS ABC Action News reports on the case of Dodge Melkonian who fell and broke his hip on the Azamara Journey cruise ship. It’s a story we have mentioned several times here on Cruise Law News. 

After the cruise line (Royal Caribbean owns Azamara) left Dodge and his wife, Jill, in a non-English speaking hospital in Turkey, the Melkonians turned to their travel agent, Elite Travel agency owner Tammy Levent, for assistance.  

Travel agent Levent contacted ABC Action News which reached out to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, who Dodge Melkonian - Azamara Cruise Shipworked with the U.S. Embassy.

Now, the Melkonians are back in the U.S. where Dodge immediately went to the hospital. 

Mr. Melkonian needs weeks of therapy and their bills are mounting, but there is still no clear answers from Royal Caribbean.  

Ms. Melkonian said she wasn’t getting the help she needed from the cruise line and they bought the cruise insurance. She told ABC Action News that, despite having insurance, the cruise line wanted them to pay out of pocket first and then file a claim.

The cruise line, which succumbed to bad press and eventually made an initial down payment on the Turkish hospital bill, claims that it is assisting the Melkoniians. In a statement, Royal Caribbean said "our focus continues to be on Mr. & Mrs. Melkonian’s well-being and we continue to work closely with them to provide the assistance they need."

But Ms. Melkonians isn’t so sure about that, saying "the rest of the hospital bill is still not decided. So there’s a lot if confusion."  

The incident comes at a time when Congress is watching the cruise lines with a skeptical eye.   

"I just hope they change some of the policies," Ms. Melkonian said.

The Melkonian’s travel agent, Tammy Levent, said that she has received calls from Washington to discuss the issues surrounding the Melkonian’s case.

Story Credit: WFTS ABC Action News / Photo Credit: CBS News

Melkonian - Azamara CruisesWFTS, an ABC affiliate in Tampa, Florida, reports on a story that we hear about all too often – an elderly passenger is injured during a cruise and ends up alone in a foreign hospital where no one speaks English. The cruise ship then sails off.

In a case which has received attention from Florida Senator Bill Nelson, Jill and her husband, Dodge Melkonian, age 89, were sailing aboard the Royal Caribbean luxury brand Azamara Cruises. Mr. Melkonian fell and broke his hip and ended up in a Turkish hospital which Mrs. Melkonian described as dirty, where no one spoke English, and was not equipped or qualified to perform the emergency surgery.

The news station quotes Mrs. Melkonian stating that "I think Royal Caribbean needs to be held accountable. They have to revamp policies for international accounts."

She bought insurance through the cruise line and tried to get her husband transferred. But the cruise line reportedly would not cooperate and told her to file an insurance claim first.

Mrs. Melkonian reached out to her travel agent who was helpful and summed up the situation saying: "The man could be dying. He is 89 years old with a broken hip, You have insurance, shouldn’t it cover you? They drop you in a hospital that’s not capable of even doing the surgery."

The travel agent contacted an English speaking tour guide who, in turn, contacted the U.S. embassy which helped transfer Mr. Melkonian to Istanbul, a six-hour trip. The cruise line reportedly ignored the couple once they were off of the ship and the insurance company tried to cancel the transportation.

Senator Bill Nelson said he is working to bring the couple home safely:

"Royal Caribbean has a responsibility to take care of their passengers, even when they have to put them in a foreign hospital," said Nelson. 

Photo & story credit: WFTS (ABC Action News) Tampa Florida

August 21 2013 Update: ABC News picked up the story. Its quotes Florida Senator Bill Nelson saying: "It’s outrageous that they would leave an elderly couple in a foreign country without adequate support."

August 22 2013 Update: CNN’s Headline News picked up the story this afternoon. "Couple Stranded Abroad After Cruise Injury."