Deaths from a person falling overboard on a cruise ship are quite rare, and they often involve adults. Just over 10 people (out of the 20 million people that go on cruises each year) fall overboard on an average each year.
When the victim is a child, the tragedy often receives a high degree of attention. Maritime law often applies to negligence claims that occur at sea.
Grandfather pleads guilty to cruise ship mishap
NBC News reported that a man pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the case of the death of his granddaughter back in 2019. The 18-month-old girl fell 11 stories to her death through an open window while in the care of her grandfather. The man pleaded guilty because he felt it would help the family gain some closure.
The plea agreement came with no admission of facts and resulted in no jail time. The man will be able to serve probation time in his home state.
Family points finger at cruise line
An MSN report revealed that the parents of the child blamed the cruise line Royale Caribbean for inadequate safety features. The child’s mother stated that the cruise company failed to put glass in the window to prevent falls. The company filed a lawsuit against the company after the incident.
Royal Caribbean claimed to have a surveillance video of the incident showing the grandfather engaging in reckless behavior with the girl at the open window. The family disputes that the man leaned out the window with the child. The grandfather also denied drinking and dangling the child out of the window before the accident.