Celebrity Cruises improperly stored dead body in cruise ship’s cooler, instead of morgue, lawsuit claims

Author: CBS NEWS
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

FORT LAUDERDALE— A Florida woman and her family have filed a lawsuit against Celebrity Cruises, claiming the cruise line improperly stored her husband’s body in the ship’s cooler, as opposed to the morgue, after he died on board.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Wednesday.

According to the complaint, Robert L. Jones, died due to a cardiac event while on the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship in August 2022, traveling from Fort Lauderdale to ports in the Eastern Caribbean.

The lawsuit states that after Jones’ death, his wife, Marilyn Jones, was told that she had two options for what could be done with her husband’s body. According to the lawsuit, those options were to “either have Mr. Jones’ body removed from the ship in San Juan,” Puerto Rico or to “have his body stored on the ship until it reached port in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, approximately six days from the date of his passing.”

Jones’ body stayed on board the ship for “approximately six days,” according to the lawsuit.

“When the funeral services employee in Ft. Lauderdale was brought onto the ship to retrieve Mr. Jones’ body, his body was not located in the ship’s morgue,” the lawsuit said.

“Instead, Mr. Jones’ body had, at some time not yet known, had been moved from the ship’s morgue to a cooler on a different floor than the ship’s morgue. The cooler in which Mr. Jones’ body was found by the funeral employee had drinks placed outside of the cooler, and was not at a temperature which was sufficient nor proper for storing a dead body to prevent decomposition,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also says the body was found “in a bag on a palette on the floor of the cooler” and that it “was in advanced stages of decomposition.”

Marilyn Jones and her family are asking for compensatory damages in the amount of $1 million and are demanding a trial by jury.

CNN has reached out to Celebrity Cruises for comment.

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