It sounds like a nightmare: You’re aboard a small fishing boat that is stranded hundreds of miles from land. Just as you’re are about to give up all hope, in the distance you see a ship that can come to your rescue. You flag the ship down with all your remaining energy. But the ship doesn’t stop, and you’re left bobbing in the sea.
That nightmare was a real-life experience for 18-year-old Adrian Vasquez, who is suing Carnival Corp.-owned Princess Cruises for failing to rescue him and his now-deceased friends when they were stranded at sea.
Vasquez, who is from Panama, and two friends, a 16-year-old and a 31-year-old, went fishing on February 24. Their boat’s engine died, and without any tools or navigation, the three men were unable to repair the vessel and return to land. Fifteen days later, the trio spotted a Princess Cruises ship. They began signaling for help and attracted the attention of three passengers onboard the ship. The passengers alerted a Princess staff member, who promised to notify Princess officials about the stranded boat. But according to Princess Cruises, the ship’s captain never received the message.
“The preliminary results of our investigation have shown that there appeared to be a breakdown in communication in relaying the passenger’s concern,” the cruise company said in a statement. “Neither Captain Edward Perrin nor the officer of the watch were notified. Understandably, Captain Perrin is devastated that he is being accused of knowingly turning his back on people in distress. Had the Captain received this information, he would have had the opportunity to respond.”
Vasquez says his 16-year-old friend died the same day the cruise ship passed them, and that his 31-year-old friend died five days later. The Ecuadorian navy spotted and rescued Vasquez on March 22 near the Galapagos Islands, which are more than 600 miles from Vasquez’s home.
Vasquez’s lawsuit is more bad news for Carnival, which is facing litigation after the captain of one of its cruise ships, the Costa Concordia, ran the vessel aground in January, resulting in dozens of passenger deaths.
Read CNN for more about the Princess Cruises negligence lawsuit.
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