Lost at Sea Victim Sues Cruise Line For Passing By
Monday, May 14 2012 @ 01:30 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
But the ship did not stop, and the fishing boat drifted another two weeks before it was found. By then, Vásquez's two friends had died. "I said, 'God will not forgive them,'" Vásquez recalled. "Today, I still feel rage when I remember that." Princess Cruises has said passengers never told the ship's captain they saw a boat. Osorio and Oropeza died later. Vázquez 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.
Editor's Comment: I broke this story on 13 April 2012 with this article - Panama Castaways Were Spotted By Cruise Ship Passengers - And Ignored By Ship's Captain. Then I spent the better part of a week pushing the story and trying to get someone in the "big" news world to notice. My wonderful and dedicated regular readers helped by sending the articles I had published to their local news outlets. Finally it got picked up in Seattle and Portland. Then a couple of television stations got it. But then when the local AP guys here in Panama published the story, they cut me out and blew me off completely. They rewrote the story as if they had done it all themselves. And now that it's gone around the world twice - many of the news agencies are still cutting me out completely without a word, any reference to www.panama-guide.com at all, or credit. But hat's off to guys like CNN, BBC, and the Guardian who contacted me today, now that Adrian Vasquez has hired a lawyer and filed suit. Ironically, the AP guys contacted me when I was in Bocas researching the Yvonne Baldelli story, looking for information. I told them I would call right back. I wonder if they're still waiting. Oh yeah - (AP Photo/Tito Herrera) - see. Was that so hard?