by Jessica Lipscomb of miaminewtimes.com
On the second day of a seven-day cruise from New York to Florida and the Bahamas last year, two young children briefly escaped from their mother’s sight and somehow landed in the pool. Within moments, both kids were yanked from the water at opposite ends of the pool.
But it wasn’t lifeguards who jumped in to rescue the siblings. Instead, the lifesaving attempts were made by passengers with medical backgrounds, who desperately began resuscitation efforts while calling for help. That’s because Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line does not employ lifeguards for its on-ship pools.
Although one of the children was safely rescued that day — May 17, 2015 — the other sibling died onboard the ship, called the Gem. She was 10 years old. Last week, Miami maritime attorney Michael Winkleman filed a lawsuit against the cruise line on behalf of the children’s mother, Colleen Blair of New York, alleging Norwegian was negligent by not providing lifeguards at the pools.
“Numerous children have died or been grievously injured on board NCL (Norwegian Cruise Line) ships and other cruise ships due to drowning or near drowning prior to this incident, yet NCL does not even spend a single penny on utilizing lifeguards on board its ships to prevent these tragedies,” the complaint reads.