Panama fisherman Adrian Vasquez sues cruise liner over rescue failure


Panama native Adrian Vasquez, 18, was rescued off the coast of Ecuador near the Galapagos Islands after 28 days adrift in a 10-foot fishing boat in the Pacific.


BBC News

Adrian Vasquez – the Panama fisherman who watched his two friends die of thirst while adrift for 28 days in the Pacific Ocean – has sued an American cruise liner that sailed past but failed to help.

The BBC reported that Vasquez, 18, filed a lawsuit for negligence in a Florida state court against Princess Cruises, which has expressed regret for the incident.

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The teenager had been on his way back to the port of Rio Hato on February 24 after a fishing trip with two friends, when their 10-foot boat suffered engine failure.

The Princess Cruises liner passed the distressed trio after they had survived 16 days eating fish and drinking rainwater, but despite several passengers raising the alarm, the vessel did not stop, the London Daily Telegraph reported.

The men had reportedly used a red sweater in attempts to flag down the ship.

Vazquez's attorney, Edna Ramos, said the lawsuit includes the testimonies of two passengers who spotted the drifting vessel and alerted staff, the BBC reported.

Two passengers, Judy Meredith of Bend, Oregon, and Jeff Gilligan of Portland, said they used a telescope for birdwatching to point out the distressed men to a sales representative aboard the ship.

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But Princess Cruises said a "breakdown in communication" meant the ship's captain had not been informed of the situation.

After almost a month at sea, and after his friends had perished, Vasquez was rescued on March 22, 620 miles off the Panama mainland, near the Galapagos Islands.