Homestead, Florida residents Luis Hernandez and his wife Karen Camacho were aboard the Costa Concordia for their “second honeymoon” when the cruise ship struck a rock formation and began taking on water off of the coast of Italy earlier this month. The ship was carrying approximately 4,000 people from across the globe when it tipped onto its side near Giglio Island. Costa Crociere, a unit of the Carnival Corporation, operated the Costa Concordia. The company has placed blame for the disaster squarely on the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino. The ship was reportedly sailing off course and too close to the rocky Italian shoreline when it was damaged.
The Florida couple was reportedly seated at dinner when the accident occurred. According to Camacho, she heard a loud noise before items began falling from dining tables. Soon after, the ship’s speaker system and waiters began reassuring passengers to stay calm. The Costa Concordia crew purportedly told passengers the ship was merely experiencing difficulties with its generator.
Once the boat began to list, the couple returned to their cabin for personal items before heading towards the ships lifeboats. According to Camacho, the scene outside of their cabin was chaotic. People were allegedly shoving one another and crewmembers appeared at a loss regarding what to do next. Camacho stated no one was providing directions and crewmembers were abandoning ship in lifeboats without passengers. After Henandez hopped onto a lifeboat full of crewmembers, Camacho was purportedly allowed aboard. When the lifeboat became stuck, the couple exited, ran through the dining room, and jumped into a small rescue boat that was ferrying passengers to shore. Camacho claims she injured her knee during her escape, but saw other passengers who were injured much worse during the ordeal.
Following the disaster, 17 people are confirmed dead and at least 16 individuals are still unaccounted for, including two Americans. The Carnival Corporation issued a public statement alleging the company is investigating what caused the Costa Concordia disaster and the Cruise Lines International Association issued a press release reminding the public that cruising is generally a safe means of travel. The Association also stated large scale cruise ship accidents such as this one are exceedingly rare.
Despite modern technology and safety measures, cruise ship accidents can happen at any time. If you were injured in an accident while cruising, contact the law firm of Lazarus & Lazarus, P.A. today. Our Hollywood cruise ship accident attorneys will assist you in protecting your rights and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Our law firm represents clients throughout Florida including Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Weston, Broward County, Palm Beach County, and Dade County. To schedule a free initial consultation, call Lazarus & Lazarus today at (954) 356-0006 or contact us through our website.
Investigation Underway for South Florida Cruise Ship Accident, Florida Personal Injury Attorney Blog, August 6, 2011
Major Cruise Line to Pay Damages to Employee for Cruise Ship Accident, Florida Personal Injury Attorney Blog, July 24, 2011
Fla. woman recounts Costa Concordia cruise crash off Italy, by Kitty Bean Yancey, USA Today
List of dead or missing from the Costa Concordia cruise ship that grounded off Italy, The Associated Press