Tore Myhra, Former RCCL Captain Legionella Death, Liberty of the Seas Cruise Illness November 1 2009, Time of Death Unknown.
Tore Myhra, 57, was a retired cruise ship captain for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) from Belton in the United Kingdom (UK). He was cruising aboard RCCL Liberty of the Seas with his wife Sue on a Caribbean cruise when he became ill and was hospitalized in the cruise ship medical center October 27, 2009.
Tore Myhra’s wife Sue, who had been a RCCL cruise ship’s purser, told the media, the Liberty of the Seas captain refused to disembark Tore Myhra at a Caribbean port to receive medical treatment, claiming the delay in medical care and contracting Legionella on the cruise ship lead to her husband’s death . When Liberty of the Seas returned to Miami, Florida Myhra was admitted into a hospital there, where he died on November 1, 2009. The cause of death was ruled Legionella Disease or Legionella pneumophila pneumonia.
Testing of the Liberty of the Seas water supply showed beyond doubt, the source of the Legionella Disease was not the cruise ship. According to a UK Coroner’s report by Coroner Tom Osborne, water samples were taken from the ship in July 2009 after another passenger, Jean Young, who was also from the UK, came down with Legionella. Water samples were taken while Mr Myhra was on board in October, and after he disembarked. All three samples tested negative for Legionella. However, both UK passengers died from the same strain of Legionella.
Sue Myhra filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in Miami Florida, lost the case and appealed. The appeal also proved fruitless. The lawsuit failed based on the venue issue. The ticket was sold to the couple through a travel agency in the U.K. and law required any legal action be taken in Wales in the UK.
However, during that period of time, the Epic Hotel in Miami was accused of a Legionella infection resulting in death. One cruise ship passenger died right before he boarded a cruise ship in September with two others sick from Legionella Disease in November and December the same year. The hotel was cleared of the related death, but the two Legionella illnesses were confirmed as coming from the hotel.
The Epic Hotel is located at 270 Biscayne Blvd Way on the Miami waterfront, a short distance to the cruise ship terminal and has a view of the cruise ship terminal. It’s popular with cruise ship passengers due to the close proximity to the cruise ships.
Tore Myhra and his wife allegedly stayed at a Miami hotel for two nights before their cruise. It is unclear if the Epic Hotel was the same hotel Tore and Sue Myhra stayed at the hotel prior to their cruise or if Jean Young stayed at the hotel.
It was reported that the Epic Hotel had a distinctive filtration system installed to improve the quality of the water, yet the water filter was so powerful it removed the chlorine that was necessary in preventing harmful bacteria from contaminating the water.
In what some might consider Karma or twisted bit of fate, Tore Myhra resigned from Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in 1999. While there are no news reports saying why he resigned, we noted two incidents which took place shortly before his resignation, both which document poor judgment.
On June 12, 1998, he violated Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations by refusing to assist during an emergency distress call by a sailboat. The cruise line was notified of a lawsuit in 1999 for the wrongful death of a man who died aboard the sailboat, he had refused to assist. Then, he was responsible for the grounding of Monarch of the Seas on December 15, 1999.
On June 12, 1998 the captain of the sailboat White Wing put out a distress emergency radio call for assistance and fired a flare into the air signaling distress. The White Wing’s captain could see a cruise ship visually and hailed the ship on their radio. The White Wing’s captain explained he had a passenger aboard having symptoms of a heart attack and requested for his passenger to board and be assisted on Tore Myhra’s cruise ship.
The request to board was denied, so the White Wing’s captain requested that medicine and the cruise ship’s doctor board the White Wing to assist the victim aboard the White Wing. The request was also denied by Captain Tore Myhra, in spite of international SOLAS regulations which require any ship in distress must be given assistance by any other ship in the area. The man, Jerry D. White, died aboard the White Wing and his widow filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
In a April 29, 2013 BBC news interview, Sue Myhra said her husband’s death was “ironic” and “The company was everything to us”. Given the White Wing incident, we find the irony to be the alleged delayed medical care at sea resulting in her husband’s death.