Oasis of the Seas Passenger, November 6, 2015
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Oasis of the Seas Passenger, November 6, 2015
Time of Death 1:00
Cruise Bruise Investigates - Halloween Cruise Horror Of The Seas
On November 6 ,2015, Bernardo Elbaz, 31, aka Bernardo Garcia Teixeira Elbaz, aka Bernardo Garcia a filmmaker, screenwriter, director, producer who lived in Manhattan, New York was sailing with his newlywed husband of one year, Erik Elbaz on a Caribbean cruise to celebrate Erik's birthday aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) Oasis of the Seas.
Bernardo Garcia planned to jump overboard, according to video footage he filmed of the event on his cell phone, which was delivered to and confirmed by Broward County Florida Sheriff's Office (BSO). The really odd fact was both men were recording the highly dramatic event on their cell phones, with Erik screaming accusations at cruise ship security, loud enough both recording cell phones in the cabin likely heard the entire off screen vocals.
Those vocals include Erik screaming , "you murdered him, you murdered him" alternately with "I'm not going anywhere [to the crew] until he's back on the ship", over and over again, before Bernardo's dramatic drop into the cruise ship's wake. On one hand, Erik loudly screams accusations at the crew of murder, while on the other hand he appears to be expecting Bernardo to come up from the lifeboat. There is more to this story than meets the eye.
BSO reviewed video recorded with a cell phone by Bernardo Garcia, who turned his recorder on and set it down inside the cabin when security came into the room. Upon arriving, cruise ship security personnel found evidence of a physical altercation in the couple's room, reported the Broward Sheriff's Office.
Broward Sheriff's Office Homicide detectives reviewed cell video evidence of the couple's interactions with the ship's security in which Bernardo Garcia can be heard declaring that he was planning to jump overboard, the sheriff's office said.
People Magazine interviewed the lawyer and posted an article on November 11, 2015 and we quote their article, "On the night of the incident, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that security responded to the couple’s cabin regarding a domestic disturbance between the two men. Upon arriving, security personnel found evidence of a physical altercation in the couple’s room, the statement, which was obtained by PEOPLE, reads. Homicide detectives reviewed video evidence of the couple’s interactions with the ship’s security in which the victim can be heard declaring that he was planning to jump overboard."
Yet, the lawyer denies the video evidence. He goes on to tell People Magazine, "Clearly he was drunk and put himself in a nightmare situation but I think it is clear that he did not jump,” he says. “Basically, he fell or slipped."
In the recording, Bernardo Garcia can be seen running towards the balcony alone. The video also shows Erik Elbaz run after Bernardo Garcia Texiera, followed by the ship's security staff. Bernardo Garcia lands on a lifeboat, two decks below, which is wet, causing him to slip and fall;
Questions need answering, such as why was the filmmaker and his husband both recording this event from start to finish? What were their plans for the videos? Why were the filmmaker and his husband recording in the cabin, but not recording the alleged gay bashing remarks at other times? Those are questions and more the FBI may investigate, when they take over this high seas case, which is strongly within their jurisdiction.
Around 1:00 in the morning, as the cruise ship neared the Turks and Caicos Islands, Bernardo Garcia was seen clinging to lifeboat hardware (photo shown) as crew members tried to help him to safety.
Bernardo Garcia, while trying to adjust his position on the lifeboat, then slipped and fell into the sea. Rescuers search ended in failure to find Bernardo Garcia. The U.S. Coast Guard suspended their search for Elbaz on Saturday.
Oasis of the Seas was a 7- night Caribbean cruise which embarked from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Halloween night, October 31, 2015 around 4:30 in the evening. The cruise ship was on the last night of the Halloween celebration cruise which had called at Nassau, Bahamas, then Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, before calling at Phillipsburg, St Maarten. The cruise finished with two days at sea as the cruise ship returned to Ft Lauderdale.
Numerous tips have come in telling the story with different critical details. Initial reports say cruise ship passenger Bernardo Garcia was involved in a domestic dispute, when cruise ship security arrived on the scene at the couple's deck 7 cabin.
Another report says Bernardo Garcia was in a "big altercation at the Solarium Bar" on the Oasis of the Seas and that his husband Erik Elbaz was not in the bar, he had gone back to the cabin.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in statements said, "Our onboard security team responded to the guest's stateroom after a neighboring guest complained about a domestic dispute on the guest's balcony. Our staff did not have a physical altercation with the guest and were unable to prevent his jumping from the stateroom balcony."
"The room was in a state of disarray, and both lamps in the room had been broken. Our officers interviewed the guests separately about their dispute, as is standard procedure," according to the company statement. "The officers were not in the room when the guest chose to jump off his balcony.", Royal Caribbean Cruise Line said.
In another statement, "Our officers responded professionally and appropriately to the incident in the stateroom," the statement said. "In addition, other security officers and crew risked their own lives in an attempt to rescue the guest from the lifeboat rigging where he had fallen."
After the incident, Erik Elbaz has alleged his husband did not jump, he was in an altercation with security while out on the balcony and fell overboard. Erik Elbaz alleges the couple had been harassed by the crew with anti-gay remarks and this lead to the incident. Oddly, after that statement, the video surfaces telling a different story.
One of the alleged so-called homophobic, gay-haters remark was to call one of the men "lipstick" used as "Hi, Lipstick", according to Elbaz's lawyer.
The term "lipstick" when referring to gay men or gay women, is not considered derogatory, no more than the terms, "top", "bottom" or "queen" are considered hateful. These terms have been used by the gay community, online gay dating community and gay community supporters in an accepted manner, so much so, the term "drama queen" has become a household word.
The term "lipstick" actually refers to a feminine person, as far as gender presentation. The Urban Dictionary defines it: "Lipstick gay (noun) a feminine appearing homosexual".
It is in no way insulting or hateful. True, any word could be considered hateful, if hate identification is the agenda. We also note that a good portion of the male crew aboard many cruise ships are gay and sexual orientation of all kinds is widely accepted.
How accepted? Atlantis Cruises, the foremost choice in gay cruises has "a tradition of chartering the newest, largest and best ships in the world". This is the Atlantis Events description of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's ships.
Atlantis Events is a gay advocacy travel group which has been booking gay cruises aboard RCCL ships for at least ten years. They wouldn't keep booking through RCCL if their members were enduring "verbal gay bashing". RCCL employees as a whole are anything but "homophobic.".
Atlantis Events charter booking on RCCL cruise ships included, 2016 - Anthem of the Seas, 2013 - Independence of the Seas, 2012 - Allure of the Seas, 2011 - Allure of the Seas, 2009 - Mariner of the Seas, 2008 - Navigator of the Seas, 2007 - Freedom of the Seas ,. 2006 - Brilliance of the Seas , 2005 - Brilliance of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas.
In checking online discussion, there is banter about playing the gay card, after the cruise has ended and a lawyer has been hired. It certainly makes for explosive hype to use the term "gay bashing" as a description for a cruise ship alcohol fueled overboard event about to be portrayed as a hate crime.
Opinions have been stated that if a single alleged incident of verbal gay bashing by crew had taken place, the time to deal with it was while the couple was on the cruise and the time to 'play the gay card' should be immediate after the alleged verbal incident. A call to guest services could have rectified the alleged offending cruise member' issue with the couple, perhaps nipping it in the bud. We await proof that either man filed a complaint related to verbal harassment during the cruise.
More opinions on the web related to the incident:
"Falling off a cruise ship is like saying I fell out of my car. You don't fall off a cruise ship unless you are doing something stupid I'm sure alcohol had a part in this. It's sad but no one falls off a cruise ship unless it's a worker painting or fixing something."
"The crew would never insult a passenger and the cruise line would fire them on the spot.This is a money grabbing attempt by the attorney and his client.after many cruises I have seen drunk passengers act like idiots wanting to fight and spoiling other passengers cruise"
"I have worked on Royal Caribbean ships myself and one thing they most definitely are not is 'anti gay'! Good grief the cruise industry would completely cease to be able to function if it wasn't for the high proportion of gay crew members."
"I worked on a cruise ship... Many of my shipmates were gay and if any crew member even joked with a passenger in an offensive way we would be fired on the spot and off the ship the second it docked- regardless of where we were."
In our opinion, this was not a "gay" incident, this was an emotionally charged, alcohol related, tragic incident which resulted in a loss of life. This event affected the entire community of the ship and should be remembered by those who witnessed the death and by the family members as an alcohol charged incident that began to escalate out of control, before cruise ship security intervened.
Many are saying it's impossible to "fall" overboard. The point is well-taken, that it is not possible to simply fall overboard from a cruise ship cabin balcony. A person has to climb over the railing, stand on balcony furniture or be picked up and tossed overboard.
Yet, the attorney for Mr. Elbaz says,"The cruise line is saying this was a domestic dispute and a suicide, but it was anything but that." The attorney goes on to say, "There was a big altercation at the Solariam bar as a result of that Bernardo who went overboard, went back to his room and was furious..."
The lawyer continues, "Royal Caribbean Security comes on the scene and as a result of an altercation in his cabin ends up somehow falling off the balcony onto the life boat area.."
Against the attorney's statement multiple witnesses state there was a loud argument coming from the cabin and security was then called for support prior to the incident.
The attorney goes on to state, "I can see it out from a media perspective that Royal Caribbean would rather be this scenario where someone jumped overboard then something directly implicated in their security staff." He then adds, "There clearly appears to be a negligent rescue that was undertaken and in my eyes more importantly than that is the anti-gay remarks that were made against these two gentleman."
In another statement, quoted by media, the lawyer says, "Elbaz was very upset and drunk when he returned to his cabin."[Bernardo was] definitely inebriated, crying, swearing at crew members who may have followed him [from the big altercation at the Solariam bar]," the lawyer said. "He was so angry he threw a lamp, a chair." The incident caused Oasis Of The Seas‘ security team to respond with "as many as five or six crew members." This supports RCCL's public statement that Bernardo Elbaz was witnessed by crew intentionally. going overboard. In our opinion, this is what RCCL's crew witnessed, as he was escaping the drama taking place in his cabin.
That "negligent rescue" was done by numerous crew members, three seen in the photo shown, who risked their lives in wet conditions, with a slippery, wet lifeboat for an injured cruise ship passenger who had consumed enough alcohol, for him to become a dangerous problem for crew members and to other passengers.
It is also worth noting that the "negligent rescue" was done in the dark, around 0130 hours , as is the case with far too many drunk passenger overboard incidents. The reality of a rescue in this incident is this. Since Bernardo Garcia drops into the sea from a lifeboat connected to the ship, his drop puts him very close or actually into the ship's wake (as shown in photo), likely pulled him under as soon as he hit the water.
While the death of this cruise ship passenger is certainly tragic. it could have been avoided if the couple had exercised good judgment and restraint. We are not hearing anything at all that points to personal responsibility for Bernardo Garcia's excessive alcohol consumption or other behavior during the event. Erik Elbaz disembarked Oasis of the Seas in Ft. Lauderdale and almost immediately hired a lawyer with a lawsuit sure to follow.
The video captured by another passenger of the incident is very graphic and the voice of a male off camera, Erik Elbaz, is heard yelling over and over again, "you murdered him, you murdered him" to a third person off camera, followed by repeated cries to a rescuer of "hold onto him, hold onto him, hold onto him, hold onto him, hold onto him, hold onto him, hold onto him".
At this point in the video, the crew are still trying to save Bernardo Garcia , he has not been "murdered", nor was he "murdered" moments later. Using the sensational word "murder" in a cruise ship overboard case related to alcohol reminds us of the case of another passenger overboard, a drunk teenage from Ireland. Her father blamed the cruise line and President Obama for her "murder" when he wrote a book related to her death. He then killed himself, years later.
It now appears Erik Elbaz is talking to security off camera when we hear, "Get off me, you murdered him... you murdered him....it's.because of you, Oh God! You murdered him! Let go of me... I want to go... Until he is brought on board I am not going anywhere. Hold on to him.... Garbled.... OK Hold on to him, don't let him go. I can't see.... (Hysterical Plea) I can't see.... Hold on to him... !!"
"Bernardo, stay on board!", Erik Elbaz is heard screaming.
Bernardo Garcia is seen holding onto the lifeboat, he reaches up to reposition himself in his alcohol impaired state, loses his grip on the slippery lifeboat and falls into the sea. The video captured by another passenger .
A lawsuit was filed in this case on November 1, 2016 Erik Elbaz v. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.