It has been reported by CNN News that two more bodies have been found on the Costa Concordia raising the death count to five. The rescue efforts are continuing and there certainly will be more deaths reported.
So far, we know the Costa Concordia inexplicably struck a large rock in shallow waters, ripping a large hole in the vessel. Water intrusion rapidly caused the cruise ship to tilt to one side and eventually go over on its side, submerged in water. Passengers jumped into the cold water to try to escape to safety. Lifeboats were unable to be lowered because of the list of the ship. Electricity was out. It was a horrifying experience, described by passengers as similar to the Titanic sinking.
The captain of the Costa Concordia has been arrested, and may be charged with manslaughter, and abandoning ship.
Safety on cruise ships has become increasingly questionable. Rapes and sexual assaults are being reported. Disappearances and possible murder onboard cruise ships have been reported. Our firm represented the family members of George Smith who is believed to have been murdered on a cruise ship during a honeymoon cruise.
Our firm also represented family members for the more than 159 individuals who died during a fire aboard a cruise ship. Most were Europeans traveling on the cruise ship.
It is reported that approximately 120 passengers on the Costa Concordia are American citizens, and the remainder are from European countries.
The cruise ship Costa Concordia is operated by Costa cruise lines, which is owned by Carnival cruise lines. Costa is based in Italy. Carnival is based in Miami.
Any lawsuits by passengers of the Costa Concordia will face limitations on the location of suit, as well the time to file a lawsuit. These limitations can be found in the passenger ticket, and should be reviewed immediately.
A maritime attorney can advise you to what extent these limitations are enforceable, and advise what damages can be sought against the cruise line, including the possibility of punitive damages.
Our firm acts as safety advocates for those harmed at sea. I have appeared before Congress as a maritime expert during congressional hearings addressing cruise ship safety. I continue to address safety concerns on cruise ships the incident with the Costa Concordia is another scary example of how vulnerable ships are and the potential of disaster that can risk the lives of thousands of people.