A foreign-based cruise line is the target of a lawsuit filed by an Ohio man who claims the company is responsible for his wife's death. The man sued the line for wrongful death after his wife was fatally injured in a snorkeling accident in Central America.
The woman reportedly jumped from the back of a boat owned by the cruise line to start snorkeling when the boat's operator put the vessel in reverse in order to stabilize. However, the woman was then sucked into the boat's propeller, leaving her with deep lacerations. She later died while undergoing treatment at a hospital.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, accuses the boat's operator of negligence and says the cruise line should be held responsible for its employee's actions. The plaintiff's attorney spoke to the press, calling the accident "horrific" and added that the entire event deeply traumatized his client, who reportedly held his wife in his arms as she died.
Company staff determined that the water was too rough to snorkel from the shore, but rather chose to have passengers jump directly from a boat. The man eventually noticed that he could not see his wife and asked the boat operator where she was. When staff was finally able to get the woman on board, she was badly injured. She reportedly went in and out of consciousness before dying, occasionally telling those around her that she could not breathe.
A spokesperson for the cruise line announced that the line is aware of the lawsuit and is sympathetic to the man's tragedy, but does not publicly comment on legal issues per company policy. The line has since not responded to any emails regarding the matter.
Source: The Seattle Times, "Ohio man sues after wife dies on cruise in Belize," Manuel Valdes, Oct. 20, 2011