The husband of a man who died after falling overboard on a Royal Caribbean cruise is now suing, claiming the company didn’t make any efforts to save him or to retrieve his body.
According to a complaint filed in Miami Federal Court this week, reported by Courthouse News, the couple was subjected to homophobic taunts from employees almost immediately after boarding Oasis of the Seas on Oct. 31, 2015.
The man claims the couple complained to supervisors about the offensive language used by employees, but that Royal Caribbean didn’t do anything to address it.
Things came to a head on Nov. 5, the lawsuit states, when the man’s husband became very upset after one of the ship’s employees allegedly called him a pedophile. Shortly after, the man says says, security officers arrived at the couple’s stateroom and threatened to arrest his husband.
After arguing with the officers, the man says his distraught husband fell from their stateroom and landed on life boats on the deck below, before he fell into the ocean.
“Several RCCL security officers and/or crewmembers grabbed [the passenger] by his arms and had a hold of him for several minutes, but ultimately failed to secure and rescue him from falling overboard,” the complaint says.
The plaintiff says in his lawsuit that he begged Royal Caribbean officials to stop the ship and go after his husband, but that the cruise line “failed to deploy lifeboats within a reasonable time and failed to promptly stop and/or turn the ship around.”
The U.S. Coast Guard later searched for the man’s body after being notified by the cruise line, but he was never found.
The lawsuit claims that there have been 16 incidents where passengers fell overboard from Royal Caribbean ships between 2000 and 2015, and only three survivors. The man is seeking compensatory damages on claims of negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violation of the High Seas Act.
We reached out to Royal Caribbean for comment and will update this post when we hear back.
Spouse Says Cruise Line Left His Husband to Die [Courthouse News]