Tourism & Cruises

Woman dies after falling from a 14th deck balcony on a Carnival cruise

Photo of the area where the woman fell on the Carnival Elation taken by a passenger from Jacksonville who wishes to remain anonymous.
Photo of the area where the woman fell on the Carnival Elation taken by a passenger from Jacksonville who wishes to remain anonymous.

A woman sailing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship from Jacksonville fell from her cabin’s balcony and died Friday.

Carnival Cruise Line spokesman Vance Gulliksen confirmed the death Saturday, saying in a statement that the incident occurred early Friday morning aboard the Carnival Elation. The ship was on a four-day Bahamas cruise from Jacksonville that departed Thursday and was near Freeport, Bahamas at the time of the fall.

The woman, who has not been identified, fell from the balcony in her stateroom on the 14th deck of the ship to the 11th deck, Doral-based Carnival confirmed, constituting a two-story fall. The Carnival Elation doesn’t have a 13th deck.

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The balcony railings in stateroom G29 from where a woman apparently fell on the Carnival Elation. The photo was taken by a passenger from Jacksonville who wishes to remain anonymous.

Balconies on the ship meet Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act standards, Gulliksen said in a statement.

“The ship’s medical team responded immediately, but, unfortunately, she passed away,” Gulliksen said. “...Our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased and her family.”

The line notified Bahamian law enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Coast Guard and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department, and is “assisting these agencies as the investigation continues,” Gulliksen said. Royal Bahamas Police Force’s Central Detective Unit said an American man is also assisting police with the investigation, but it’s unclear what his relation is to the deceased.

Tampa resident Maureen La Bryer, whose daughter and son-in-law Megan and Matthew Burdewick are on the Elation, said they texted her about the incident. The Burdewick’s said their cabin was near that of the woman who fell.

“We weren’t [allowed] off the boat to Freeport until they investigated it. They were taking pictures [and everything],” Megan Burdewick texted her mother, according to text messages La Bryer shared with the Herald. “...Her room is right by ours and this guy was guarding it the entire day had the door half cracked pitch dark [sic].”

She added that, after the fall, “There was blood everywhere.”

In October, an 8-year-old Bahamian girl, Zion Smith, who was tiptoeing over the railing on the fifth floor of the Carnival Glory fell two stories and died. In February, a Georgia man, Kevin Wellons, fell overboard from the 11th deck of the Carnival Elation while the ship was near the Bahamas. After searching more than 1,300 square miles, the Coast Guard called off the search for Wellons a day after the incident.

Chabeli Herrera: 305-376-3730, @ChabeliH

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk hoists a 39-year-old woman on Sunday, April 30, 2017, from the cruise ship Carnival Elation approximately 40 miles east of Port Canaveral, Florida.

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