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Cruise ship passenger subject of gay slurs prior to fall overboard, attorney alleges

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U.S.
Cruise security instigated man overboard incident: lawyer
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CBS NEWS
Nov 9, 2015 8:49 AM EST
info

Eric Elbaz via CBS Miami
MIAMI - The attorney for family of a man caught on dramatic video clinging to a life raft before plummeting to his death on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship insists he did not jump on purpose, and the crew did not do enough to rescue him.

The cruise line said after the incident that 35-year old Bernardo Elbaz jumped, but attorney Mike Winkleman told CBS Miami the available video evidence shows a man holding on for dear life.

Winkleman said the victim and his husband were both recording video on their cell phones prior to the incident, and it may be key to showing what lead up to the fall.

"I'm hoping that sheds further light on what actually occurred in that stateroom," Winkleman said. "After Bernardo had fallen into the water, they basically tackled (Bernardo's husband) Eric and ripped his phone from him, basically stealing his phone."

He added that the Broward Sheriff's Office later returned the couple's phones when the ship arrived at Port Everglades on Saturday. The Broward Sheriff's Office is investigating the situation, and has so far not issued any blame.


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"The surviving husband is distraught," Winkleman said of Eric Elbaz. "They were married for over a year. They lived together in New York City and they were on the cruise to celebrate Eric's birthday. And obviously, it turned into a nightmare. We want a full and fair investigation."

The actual fall was caught on video by a passenger's cell phone and uploaded to Youtube.

In the video, Elbaz is seen dangling from a lifeboat rafter on the side of the Oasis of the Seas while people scream as arms reach out to him. But suddenly, he drops into the ocean.

Winkleman said it was Royal Caribbean crew members who instigated the situation.

"Throughout the cruise, there were anti-gay remarks crew members were making against them," said Winkleman.

That escalated into a huge dispute Thursday night while the couple was at a bar. Ship security was needed to intervene.

"A big altercation ensued," explained Winkleman. "That ultimately led to Bernardo falling over the balcony of his stateroom and ending up on the lifeboats."

Winkleman is now looking into what he says were negligent rescue efforts.

"If Royal Caribbean was on the scene when this was happening, why didn't they rescue him? Why wasn't more done? Why wasn't a life ring given to him," asked Winkleman.

CBS Miami reached out to Royal Caribbean but haven't heard from the company.



This is crazy, I wonder what the outcome will end up being.
post #2 of 5
When I was on a royal Caribbean cruise this past summer it was a gay couple that sat at the next table during dinner. It was weird cuz 1 dude was clearly 40+ and the other dude couldn't be older then 25. Dudes was cool tho, they were copping everybody who didn't have unlimited drinks beers all night at the clubs.
Outta this world jupitar jack
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Outta this world jupitar jack
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post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willchamberlain View Post

When I was on a royal Caribbean cruise this past summer it was a gay couple that sat at the next table during dinner. It was weird cuz 1 dude was clearly 40+ and the other dude couldn't be older then 25. Dudes was cool tho, they were copping everybody who didn't have unlimited drinks beers all night at the clubs.

What was exactly weird about the age difference?

post #4 of 5
Seeing a old bald dude with grey facial hair and a young blonde hair faux hawk dude threw me off. I thought they were father n son until I chopped it up with the old dude at the bar.
Outta this world jupitar jack
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Outta this world jupitar jack
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post #5 of 5
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I have a feeling that the attorney is doing this to get the cruise line into a settlement
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