25-year-old Casey Holladay was on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Mariner of the Seas, enjoying time with his friends and girlfriend when, in an instant, the fun-filled vacation was tragically cut short. Casey ended up at the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami, FL, undergoing major pelvic surgery, having sustained multiple pelvic fractures and a dislocated shoulder after falling over 20 feet to the deck of the cruise ship. The injury occurred while he was suspended in the air in a bungee harness on board the cruise ship in a popular attraction called the Sky Pad. The Sky Pad is described by the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in their literature as an “out-of-this-world bungee trampoline experience.”
What happened? In this particular case, we know exactly what happened because another passenger caught the entire event on video. What is reflected on the video is quite shocking and disturbing. In an exclusive video obtained by our firm*, Casey was suspended high up in the air by bungee cords attached to a harness. The cords abruptly snapped, and the harness apparatus released him completely, causing him to plummet from the air to the deck below. Casey fell from such a high altitude and at such velocity that he was violently thrown beyond the trampoline, instead landing on the hard deck surface below the trampoline. There was no protective padding or nets.
In a split-second, Casey’s life was changed forever. He is just now beginning the long and arduous rehabilitation process from this serious accident hopefully in order to obtain the best possible recovery from this devastating injury. It is well-established that he will never regain 100% of his function, will have permanent disfigurement and disability, pain-and-suffering, and require future medical treatment including inevitable eventual post-traumatic arthritis and hip replacement(s). He is simply taking things day by day at this time, including seeing a psychologist for the depression, mental anguish, and post-traumatic stress he suffered as a result of this incident.
The video in this case captures not only evidence of what happened in this particular case, but evidence of what may be an ongoing problem on cruise ships that needs to be addressed, which is whether the amusement park attractions cruise ships keep adding to their decks as the ships get bigger and bigger are safe. Is an independent entity inspecting and certifying them? Is the cruise ship qualified, with the necessary expertise, to operate these attractions on board their ships? Are the employees properly qualified and trained to operate the attractions? Are the attractions being adequately inspected and maintained? Are the operating manuals and procedures, as well as standards, being followed by the cruise ship companies?
Our firm has handled several serious accidents involving attractions on cruise ships, such as rock climbing, the FlowRider, zip lining, waterslides, and now the Sky Pad. More activities are being added to cruise ships all the time, including recently the addition of race car driving on board a cruise ship. Many of these attractions were designed for land and have inherent challenges when placed on board a mega-size cruise ship sailing the high seas. The question arises whether these activities are safe to be properly operated on board a cruise ship, and what needs to be done to assure that passengers can safely participate in these attractions that the cruise ships are promoting to increase passenger sales.
Casey Holladay has filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean Cruise Line for this horrific and life-changing accident. A copy of the lawsuit can be seen here.
Brett Rivkind continues to be a safety advocate for those harmed at sea. He was an invited speaker before Congress during congressional hearings addressing cruise ship safety and security. This case has now received national and international attention due to the shocking video, which has hopefully brought public awareness to the issues surrounding the dangerous attractions being offered on board cruise ships affecting the safety of the passengers. Casey hopes that his case will result in actions being taken to prevent further serious incidents from occurring, hopefully saving others from serious physical injuries and death.
*This video is the legal property of the law firm of Rivkind, Margulies, & Rivkind P.A. All the licensing rights are owned by the aforementioned and any copying or reproduction of this video is not permitted unless permission is obtained from the law firm of Rivkind, Margulies, & Rivkind P.A.