MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Broward Sheriff’s Office is investigating what led to a man going overboard and falling to his death on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.
The cruise line said 35-year old Bernardo Garcia Teixeira jumped.
But the victim’s family attorney said he fell and the cruise line did not do enough to rescue him.
Attorney Mike Winkleman also told CBS4 that the video the victim and his husband were both recording on their cell phones may be key to showing what lead up to the fall.
“I’m hoping that sheds further light on what actually occurred in that stateroom,” Winkleman said. “After Bernardo had fallen into the water, they basically tackled Eric and ripped his phone from him, basically stealing his phone.”
He added that the Broward Sheriff’s Office later returned the couple’s phones when the ship arrived at Port Everglades on Saturday.
“The surviving husband is distraught,” Winkleman said of Garcia Teixeira. “They were married for over a year. They lived together in New York City and they were on the cruise to celebrate Eric’s birthday. And obviously, it turned into a nightmare. We want a full and fair investigation.”
The actual fall was caught on video by a passenger’s cell phone and uploaded to Youtube.
In the video, you see Garcia Teixeira dangling from a lifeboat rafter on the side of the Oasis of the Seas while people scream as arms reach out to him. But suddenly, he drops into the ocean.
But Winkleman said it was Royal Caribbean crew members who instigated the situation.
“Throughout the cruise, there were anti-gay remarks crew members were making against them,” said Winkleman.
That escalated into a huge dispute Thursday night while the couple was at a bar. Ship security was needed to intervene.
“A big altercation ensued,” explained Winkleman. “That ultimately led to Bernardo falling over the balcony of his stateroom and ending up on the lifeboats.”
Winkleman is now looking into what he says were negligent rescue efforts.
“If Royal Caribbean was on the scene when this was happening, why didn’t they rescue him? Why wasn’t more done? Why wasn’t a life ring given to him,” asked Winkleman.
The FBI has asked the Broward Sheriff’s Office to investigate.
CBS4 reached out to Royal Caribbean but haven’t heard from the company.