Articles Posted in Tourism Safety

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A cruise ship in the Mediterranean carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew struck an underwater rock, ran aground and capsized over the weekend, leaving six people dead, more than a dozen missing, and the ship half sunken into the Sea.

The dramatic cruise ship crash also left thousands stranded, after passengers reportedly leapt off the ship and swam for shore, recalling scenes from the Titanic cruise ship disaster now immortalized on film.

Passengers reported blackouts, crawling through dark hallways, plates and dishes crashing, desperate attempts to reach lifeboats, and general chaos. Some were evacuated by helicopter, others rescued by ferry, and many took shelter on a nearby island in schools, hotels and a church, overrunning the tiny island of 1,500 residents.

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Stormy Cruise Ship.jpgThe Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act signed into United States law in July 2010 seems to be firmly in place, not that it can totally prevent crimes or personal injury.

As the Act requires, Royal Caribbean recently reported an alleged rape aboard one of its ships to the FBI and BSO, and allowed both to investigate the ship and port. The ship’s ‘guest care team’ also offered the alleged victim assistance including medical care and counseling, according to a statement from the cruise line’s manager of Global Corporate Communications, as reported in the Sun Sentinel.

The Sentinel article says that a 15-year-old girl from Iowa said she was lured from a teen dance club on board to a private room, where a 15-year-old boy said there would be a party. Instead, she said, there was only another man there, and the two of them raped her.

Both males live in Brazil, are being held in Broward, and appeared in court last Wednesday. The elder, a 20-year-old, was accused of one count of committing a lewd and lascivious act, ordered not leave the tri-county area and denied access to his or a replacement passport. The younger was charged with lewd and lascivious battery and held at the Broward Juvenile Assessment Center.

The International Cruise Victims Association (ICV) represents victims of crime on cruise ships, their families and friends, and individuals concerned about the problems of victimization and disappearances on cruise ships. The organization advocates for legislative reform to protect passengers from crimes and increase the rights of victims of crimes that do occur on cruise ships, and provides support to victims of crimes occurring on cruise ships.

The National Association for Victims of Crimes and the Rape, Assault, and Incest National Network (RAINN) have joined ICV in the effort to promote reform to the Cruise Line Industry.

The National Crime Victim Bar Association is a network of attorneys and allied professionals dedicated to facilitating civil actions brought by crime victims. Crime victims may be able to file civil lawsuits against perpetrators and responsible third parties for the damages the victims suffered as a result of the crime. Personal injury attorney John Elliott Leighton serves on the Advisory Board of the National Crime Victim Bar Association.

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A deadly combination of factors in a Philadelphia waterway has left two tourists dead, a father of two young children jailed for a year, and several lawsuits still pending.

On the day of the incident, the operator of a 33-foot “Ride the Ducks” sightseeing boat anchored in a shipping channel of the Delaware River after detecting smoke and suspecting an onboard fire, cited CNN International. There were 35 passengers and two crew members on board.

Video footage shown on The Today Show revealed the shocking footage of a towed 250-foot sludge barge running over and submerging the tourist boat in a matter of seconds. Amazingly, only two tourists died in the accident.

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Orlando Map.jpgFrom seizure to broken bone, head injury to loss of an eyeball, twelve visitors to Orlando experienced first-hand during Q3 2011 the dangers that lurk in parks designed for amusement. Walt Disney World reported the most injuries for Q3, totaling seven.

Resort Torts can include a wide variety of legal cases but they all have one thing in common: Tourists, business travelers and locals alike are all exposed to risk while traveling, vacationing or engaging in resort and leisure activities.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, new filings with the state include the following injuries reported at Orlando theme parks:

Islands of Adventure
• A man from Puerto Rico had to have an eye removed after something stuck and lacerated it while he was riding the Dragon Challenge roller coaster in Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure. According to the Sentinel, the description in the report Universal provided the state was “eye discomfort”.

Walt Disney World
• An 18-year-old woman lost consciousness and experienced seizure-like symptoms in Castaway Creek.
• A woman injured an ankle on Mayday Falls.
• A woman lost consciousness after riding Mission: Space.
• A 16-year-old girl had a seizure on Star Tours.
• A woman fell and broke her leg at Haunted Mansion.
• Another woman fell and broke her leg on Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel.

Wet ‘n’ Wild, owned by NBCUniversal
• An 8-year-old boy suffered a head injury on Storm.

Amusement Park Injury Reporting
In 2001, The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the amusement park industry trade group, began producing its own injuries-per-ride-cycle figure for amusement rides (roller coasters, Ferris wheels, etc.) operated at fixed site locations. Their methodology is that IAAPA asks its members each year to report the number of riders they’ve processed through the turnstiles of their mechanical amusement rides, and the number of customers they know of who were treated by a doctor for injuries caused by any of those rides. They then come up with a number of patron rides taken each year, and an aggregated count of ride-related injuries parks reported knowing about.

This reporting system does not collect any information useful for analysis of accident patterns or development of prevention strategies. No information is collected that would identify the ride, the park, the age/size of patrons involved, the type of accident, or the injuries sustained.

With 82 million visitors each year, Florida and its many tourist attractions give rise to Resort Torts – cases of civil liability for negligent or criminal in a resort, vacation or recreational setting. Click here to contact a board certified civil trial specialist with 26 years of experience representing victims of negligence in personal injury matters.

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Diver waving.jpg

Two divers were left behind by a commercial dive boat off the coast of South Florida, and floated at sea for more than two hours before being rescued by a passing boat.

The Miami Beach-based boat operator said that divers were accounted for on a roster check-off list as they came back to the boat, reported the Sun Sentinel. Somehow these two divers were checked off without ever returning to the boat. He also said he was left behind himself once in Key Largo, when the wrong person answered for his name during a verbal roll call.

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Parasailing tragedy.jpgDavid Sierazki, age 31, is the latest victim of the STILL unregulated parasailing industry. He died last week in the second parasailing fatality in the Tampa Bay area in a year. The engine died in the boat that was pulling him, and he plunged from 800 feet up into the water. When pulled out, he was unconscious and unresponsive, and was later pronounced dead after unsuccessful CPR attempts.

“I can’t believe we haven’t gotten smarter as an industry,” said Mark McCulloh, chairman of the Parasail Safety County, who was quoted in a Tampa Tribune article on the incident.

McCulloh said the industry needs strict rules for parasailing, including maximum wind speed allowances, height restrictions, equipment inspection and tow lines.

Florida legislators have failed to address this continuing problem and need to pass the Amber May Law to bring some regulation to this rogue industry.

As reported by The Today Show, fifteen-year-old Amber May White died while parasailing from head trauma along with internal injuries, sustained when she crashed into a building when the parasail on which she was riding snapped, while vacationing with her family in Pompano Beach, Florida. Amber May’s sister Crystal also suffered head injuries in this tragedy. John Elliott Leighton represented the family in the lawsuit against the parasail operators and the resort where Amber May was killed. Mr. Leighton has spearheaded legislative efforts to bring some regulation to this rogue industry. His efforts in Tallahassee have resulted in a bill which he and the family hope to make law this year.
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Seminar logo - red cropped.jpgThe Miami Beach shooting incident during Memorial Day weekend has changed the ‘foreseeability’ factor for resort crimes in the area.

Most negligent security cases turn on the issue of foreseeability: Was the incident reasonably foreseeable by the owner or business?

One of the tools used to analyze foreseeability is the crime grid, which has been held admissible at trial, and involves obtaining from a police agency a record of the service calls for the area around the address of an incident.

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A tour-bus driver employed by a Florida travel company struck and killed a pedestrian in Midtown Manhattan. The driver registered .083 in a subsequent breath alcohol test, reported the New York Post – more than twice the legal limit of .04 for commercial drivers.

The West Palm Beach man struck a 29-year-old Philadelphian man while driving an L&L Travel tour bus bus with 40 sightseeing tourists on board. Police reported finding an open 1.75-liter bottle of Smirnoff in the luggage compartment, and a silver travel mug nearly emptied of vodka, said the Post.

He is charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated. The victim was reportedly dragged behind the bus for nearly half a block and pronounced dead at Bellvue Hospital. A wrongful death lawsuit could potentially follow.

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Royal Caribbean is being sued by a 17-year old girl who was allegedly raped onboard by a 31-year-old employee of the cruise line, reports the Miami New Times. The singer bought the underage girl several drinks after his band performance, including Jägerbombs, pressuring her to drink the shots, according to the lawsuit.

After several drinks, the singer said he needed to pick up something in his room and asked the girl to go with him. Once there, he allegedly engaged in oral sex and intercourse with the girl. When she said she wanted to leave, he said no, and continued to rape her. Another man arrived later and took pornographic photos of the drunken girl.