1 child dies, 1 hospitalized after cruise incident

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 4, 2014 at 5:18 pm •  Published: February 4, 2014

The death must be reported to the Coast Guard and the state where the vessel is registered, said Carol Finklehoffe, a Miami personal injury lawyer who represents cruise ship passengers and crew members. The family's legal rights are based in a provision of maritime law that limits damages resulting from an accidental death on the high seas primarily to the money the victim could earn, Finklehoffe said. For a 4-year-old, that's virtually nil, she said.If the 6-year-old survives, that child can seek compensation for pain and suffering, she said.

The ship is based in New York and was headed to Florida on an itinerary that then had it headed to the Bahamas, according to Norwegian's website. The ship was docked in Port Canaveral, Fla., Tuesday morning, port spokeswoman Rosalind Harvey confirmed.

When the ship launched in the spring of 2013, it was praised by industry experts such as Cruise Week editor Mike Driscoll, who called it "the best ship in the company's 47-year history."

Last October, a 6-year-old boy drowned in one of the pools aboard a Carnival Cruise Lines ship while at sea. The child was at the mid-ship pool area of the Carnival Victory with other family members on the last leg of a four-day Caribbean cruise, the company said at the time.

The Miami-Dade Police Department investigated the drowning and identified the boy as Qwentyn Hunter of Winter Garden, Fla. The drowning appeared to be accidental and foul play was not suspected, police said.

"There have been multiple drownings on cruise ships in the recent past," said Finklehoff, who believes cruise ships should assign lifeguards to their pools. "They know that the pool deck is a very distracting area. They're selling drinks, there's activities going on, and people can be distracted. That includes parents watching children."


Emery Dalesio can be reached at http://twitter.com/emerydalesio

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