A fisherman who survived being lost at sea for 28 days is suing the owner of a cruise ship he says sailed by and left him and his companions to die. Eighteen-year-old Adrian Vasquez is suing American cruise line Princess Cruises for negligence. Vasquez and his friends left a port in Rio Hato, Panama, for a fishing trip back in February and ended up stranded after the boat’s engine failed.
According to Vasquez, a cruise ship passed by 16 days after the men were stranded and the teenager tried to flag it down with a red sweater. Passengers on the cruise ship said they alerted the staff of the boat and were assured the crew would be notified. “We felt happy, because we thought they were coming to rescue us,” said Vasquez.
That didn’t happen. Vasquez was eventually rescued over 600 miles away from the shore, but by that time his two friends had died. Vasquez was out at sea for a total of 28 days. According to Vasquez, he only survived because a rainstorm replenished his water supply.
Representatives from the cruise line called the issue a “breakdown in communication.” According to Princess Cruises, they understood their obligation to assist any vessel in distress and said their cruise ships have been involved in over 30 rescues within the past decade.