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Cruise Ship Stores Dead Body Improperly in Cooler

April 25, 2023 | By Kali Girl

According to CNN, legal action has been taken against Celebrity Cruises by a Florida woman after she alleged that the cruise line failed to properly store her deceased husband’s body. Instead of storing the body in the ship’s morgue, the body was placed in a cooler.

The lawsuit was officially filed on Wednesday in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Robert L. Jones died from a cardiac event in August 2022 while traveling with his wife, Marilyn Jones, on the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship from Fort Lauderdale. According to the lawsuit, Marilyn was presented with two options regarding the handling of her husband’s body following his death.

Jones’ 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.”

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

“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.”

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,” the lawsuit said.

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

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