A Sarasota man was nearly killed while on a cruise ship traveling out of Miami.
He was on a trampoline on deck when things went horribly wrong. Now he’s suing Royal Caribbean and demanding changes.
On Feb. 9, 26-year-old Casey Holladay was on board the Mariner of the Seas with his friends and decided to use a brand new attraction, “The Skypad.”
It’s a series of trampolines enclosed in a cage. Users attach themselves to bungee cords and can perform acrobatic flips in the air.
That afternoon, things went horribly wrong. The bungee cord snapped and Holladay plummeted nearly 20 feet onto the hard deck below.
“Casey was super athletic, an active individual, a healthy and then in a split second, now he’s looking at an injury that’s going to impact him for the remainder of his life,” said attorney Brett Rivkind.
Rivkind says Holladay fractured his pelvis and is now disabled. He’s using a wheelchair, and he’ll likely need a hip replacement and lifetime therapy.
“‘He could’ve become paralyzed. He could’ve hit his head. He could’ve been killed so yes, that was his life was threatened by this incident needlessly,” said Rivkind.
So he’s suing Royal Caribbean. Rivkind says the cruise line staff is not properly trained to operate and maintain these hazardous attractions.
“These attractions are run through the hotel operations department on the cruise ships and in my opinion, they don’t have the appropriate expertise to adequately consider the safety risk of these types of attractions,” said Rivkind.
“What angers me is there are demand and pressure to put more and more entertainment and attractions to keep all the passengers busy.”
Rivkind also adds that the cruise ship placed the attraction in a potentially dangerous location.
“Here, you put it on a basketball court, a hard surface, and there was no protective padding,” said Rivkind.
Holladay has sued Royal Caribbean in federal court. The cruise line will not comment on camera,
They released a short statement saying, “We do not comment on pending litigation. We operate all our ships safely, professionally and responsibly.”
Rivkind has a warning if you’re about to take a cruise.
“Proceed with caution whenever you use any attraction. We really don’t know how safe or how dangerous these attractions are in the manner they’re being operated,” said Rivkind.
Rivkind explained that cruise lines work with manufacturers, but then often change or adapt the attraction to fit their ship and there’s little oversight.
“A lot goes into maintaining this type of activity and a lot goes into the daily operations to make it safe, including daily inspections, including checking the weight of the people who are using the harnesses so that the proper tensions can be evaluated,” he explained.
Rivkind says this incident is still under investigation.