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Panama fisherman sues cruise line for not helping

A Panamanian man who watched his two companions die while surviving at sea for 28 days in their small disabled boat has sued a U.S. cruise line because one of its ships failed to help, his attorney said Sunday.

Attorney Edna Ramos said the lawsuit alleging negligence by Prince Cruise Lines was filed in a Florida state court on behalf of Adrian Vazquez.

The 18-year-old Vazquez and companions Fernando Osorio, 16, and Elvis Oropeza, 31, set off for a night of fishing on Feb. 24 from Rio Hato, a small fishing and farming town on the Pacific coast of Panama that was once the site of a U.S. Army base guarding the Panama Canal. The boat’s motor broke down on the way back and the men drifted at sea for 16 days before seeing a cruise ship approach March 10.

Vazquez has said the men signaled for help, but the ship did not stop.

Princess Cruises has said passengers never told the ship’s captain they saw a boat.

Osorio and Oropeza died later. Vazquez was rescued on March 22 near Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, more than 600 miles from where they had set out.

Ramos said the lawsuit includes testimony from two cruise ship passengers who have said they saw the disabled boat and reported it to a cruise representative on the Star Princess liner.

Passenger Jeff Gilligan, a birdwatcher from Portland, Oregon, has told journalists that he was among the first people to notice the small boat. Another birdwatcher, Judy Meredith of Bend, Oregon, has also said she saw the small open boat and through her bird-spotting scope could see a man waving what looked like a dark red T-shirt.

Meredith has said that she told a Princess Cruises sales representative what she and Gilligan had seen and that he assured her that he passed the news on to the ship’s crew. The two passengers said they put the sales representative on one of the spotting scopes so he could see the small boat for himself. (AP)

<관련 한글 기사>

죽어가는 어부 SOS '못 본 척' 크루즈선 논란

모터가 나간 낚싯배에서 28일 동안 바다에서 살아남은 파나마 출신의 한 어부는 지나가던 크루즈선에 도움을 청했음에도 불구하고 외면당해 결국 동료 두 명이 사망했다며 크루즈선을 상대로 소송을 걸었다고 해외 언론이 지난 일요일 보도했다.

에이드리언 바스케스(Adrian Vazquez)는 동료 두 명과 함께 파나마 동부 해안 부근 리오 해토에서 지난 2월 24일 저녁 낚시를 목적으로 선박에 올랐다. 낚시를 마치고 돌아오던 길에 선박의 모터가 고장이 나 바다에 표류했다. 16일이 지난 3월 10일, 그들은 지나가던 크루즈 선 스타프린세스(Star Princess)를 목격, 도움을 청했으나 크루즈선은 멈추지 않고 그들을 외면했다.

해당 크루즈 그룹 프린세스크루즈(Princess Cruises) 측은 표류선을 목격한 선객들이 선장에게 목격 사실을 알리지 않았다고 말했다.

바스케스와 함께 했던 동료 두 명은 결국 사망했으며 바스케스는 3월 22일 파나마 리오 해토에서 1000km 가량 떨어진 에콰도르 갈라파고스 제도 부근에서 구조되었다.

해당 소송에서 스타프린세스 유람선에 타고 있던 두 명의 목격자가 증인으로 설 예정이다. 그 중 오리건 출신의 주디 메레디스(Judy Meredith)는 망원경을 통해 붉은 셔츠를 흔드는 남성의 모습을 목격하고 유람선 관리자를 호출하여 망원경으로 직접 보게 했다고 말했다.

(코리아 헤럴드)