The FBI has begun an investigation into the cause of death of an 88-year-old Canadian passenger of Holland America’s MS Veendam cruise ship, according to ABC 10 News. The vessel was 300 miles off the coast of San Diego, California when passengers witnessed the elderly woman fall into the water. A search was conducted and the woman was found dead, face down in the water. The ship’s medical examiner inspected the corpse and ruled the death a suicide. Cruise lines often rule man-overboard deaths as suicide because it absolves them of the responsibility of investigation and liability. However, eyewitness accounts of the woman’s fall tell a very different story.
The Veendam was returning to San Diego after seven days touring Mexico to celebrate the New Year. One passenger noted that they could “hear that the ship was stopping and turned about so you knew it was serious.” Then, an alarm went off and an emergency flare illuminated the side of the boat. The captain then came on the loudspeaker and said, “Man overboard. Crew members, go to your stations. Please move away from the lifeboats because we’re going to put some of them down to go look.”
One passenger saw the fall itself and said that the woman died as the result of an aborted suicide attempt gone terribly wrong. The passenger noted that the woman climbed out on her balcony and appeared to lean over the edge of the protective railing. She then changed her mind and tried to return to the safety of the balcony. In the process of returning to the balcony, she slipped and fell into the water to her death. If the FBI investigation reveals that the death was not, in fact, a suicide, Holland America may be liable for the death.
The Cruise Line Said My Friend’s Death Was A Suicide When It Was Not. What Can I Do?
The cruise line industry is notorious for trying to avoid responsibility for injury and death. If you or a loved one has suffered on a cruise ship and the company has tried to offer you a cash settlement in exchange for dropping the charges, do not accept it. Cruise ship settlements are usually insufficient to cover basic medical costs. Instead, contact one of our experienced San Diego cruise ship injury lawyers. We will ensure that you receive the full compensation that you deserve for your physical, emotional and financial hardships. To schedule a free consultation with one of our San Diego cruise ship injury attorneys, contact our firm today at (858) 530-4800.
[Did You Know: The average age of a person who falls overboard is 41, according to Cruise News.]
Dudek Law Firm, APC—San Diego car accident attorney
Source: http://www.cruiselawnews.com/2014/01/articles/social-media-1/person-overboard-from-holland-america-lines-veendam/, http://www.cruiseserver.net/travelpage/other/man_overboard.asp