It has been reported that a 3-year-old girl on board a Carnival Cruise Line cruise ship fell from a stateroom balcony to the deck below, suffering injuries which required her to be airlifted to a hospital in Tampa, Florida. The incident took place this past Friday aboard the Carnival Breeze. The ship was on its way back to Galveston, Texas, after cruising to the Bahamas.
The nature and extent of the injuries were not known at the time, other than it was reported that there was severe bruising to the facial area, and a Coast Guard officer commented that he did not believe the injuries to be more serious injuries than facial fractures, although that remains to be seen. It is also unclear why the 3-year-old fell from the balcony in her stateroom.
It is concerning that only one day earlier a similar incident was reported aboard the Carnival Valor, another Carnival Cruise Line ship, Carnival Valor, where a 30-year-old passenger fell and injured her head requiring evacuation by the United States Coast Guard. The ship was just ten miles from Galveston, Texas, when she was medevacs from the ship. Details from her fall are unknown at this time.
We have reported many times on cruise ship disappearances. We have also represented the family members of many passengers who have fallen off cruise ships. We represented the family of George Smith, a very well-known case that prompted many changes in the cruise ship industry, including The Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act of 2010 . George Smith disappeared while on his honeymoon cruise. The evidence revealed that he fell off his stateroom balcony into the water. His body was never found. It was believed he was the victim of foul play, but that was never proved. The FBI finally closed their file after investigating the incident for several years. No one was ever prosecuted as a result. The family was able to reach a settlement eventually with the cruise ship company.
Before the case of George Smith, it was in fact a secret how much crime occurred on cruise ships. Now we have more information than before. The Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act of 2010, which has been effective since 2012, made it mandatory for cruise ships to report criminal activity to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Coast Guard was made responsible for making these statistics public. We now know the number of sexual assaults and disappearances that have been reported on these floating cities, many more than anyone ever imagined or expected. Of course, public knowledge of this hurts the image of cruise lines, so the public relations department of the cruise ship companies work hard on plans and strategies to minimize the effects of adverse publicity.
In the case from Friday afternoon, we are relieved the young child did not fall into the water, as most of the cases where cruise ship passengers fall into the water do not have happy endings. We hope the young child makes a speedy recovery and that it is true that the injuries are not more serious than a facial fracture.
Our firm continues to act as safety advocates for those harmed at sea, including those harmed on board cruise ships.