A gay couple’s cruise turned into a nightmare after one of the men fell overboard, allegedly during an altercation with crew members over homophobic comments.
Horrifying video footage has emerged of Brazilian Bernardo Albaz, 35, clinging on to the edge of a lifeboat last Friday for almost a minute before falling into the ocean.
The body of Albaz, who was on the cruise with his husband of a year, has still not been found.
According to the ship’s owners, Royal Caribbean, Albaz jumped from the balcony of his cabin on the Oasis of the Seas and fell to the lifeboat below before disappearing into the waves.
Mike Winkleman, a lawyer representing the man’s family, has, however, alleged that it was not a suicide but was related to an argument between Albaz and crew members.
“Bernardo did not jump,” he told NBC Miami. “There were several different occasions where there were anti-gay remarks against this legal-married gay couple like, ‘Hi, lipstick.'”
Winkleman claims that on the night of his death Albaz was at a bar on the ship when he again became the target of a homophobic comment.
“Bernardo ended up getting in a huge altercation and ended up in his cabin where he is furious and ultimately Royal Caribbean security came to the scene,” said Winkleman. “As a result of the altercation in his cabin Bernardo falls off his balcony onto the life boat area.”
In the video, as Albaz desperately hangs on to the boat, his husband Eric is heard screaming at the security staff. It appears that there are failed attempts, amidst much shouting, to pull him back up before he falls.
Royal Caribbean released a statement regarding the incident, denying the family’s claims.
“Our onboard security team responded to the guest’s stateroom after a neighbouring 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,” said the company.