Debi Chalik of Chalik & Chalik Law Offices in Plantation has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Israeli tourist Shir Frenkel, who blames Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. over a zip line accident that killed her husband on their honeymoon.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, seeks more than $1 million in damages and points the finger at Royal Caribbean for sending guests on a trip that it allegedly knew was “anything but safe.”
Igal Tyszman was 24 when he died in July, after a mid-air collision with his 27-year-old wife of one month, according to the complaint. Frenkel suffered an array of serious injuries, including fractured ribs, spleen and lung damage.
The newlyweds’ cruise ship, Allure of the Seas, had docked at the Honduran island of Roatan for the Extreme Caribe Zip Line Tour, the complaint said. The zip line was run by an independent company in Honduras— a detail the plaintiff claimed Royal Caribbean didn’t disclose when they booked the trip.
A spokesman for Royal Caribbean declined to comment on the case, and its lawyer, Jonathan Drucker of Trescott & Drucker in Coral Gables, did not respond to requests for comment before deadline.
According to Chalik, the plaintiff is suing Royal Caribbean — not the Honduran zip line company — as it found out about the trip at the ship’s excursion desk and dealt exclusively with the cruise company throughout booking.
“They asked a lot of questions from the excursion desk about the safety of the zip line, and Royal Caribbean assured them that they partner with and work with only the safest companies out there,” Chalik said.
On the third and longest zip wire ride of the trip, according to Chalik, eye witnesses have said that a guide instructed the couple to lie back in a plank position to avoid losing momentum. On two previous rides, they’d sat upright as they’d been told to in a safety briefing.
“Shir goes first ahead of her husband, through the jungle, and now you don’t see her,” Chalik said. “All of a sudden, she completely comes to a halt and starts coming backwards, toward the initial platform that she took off from.”
At the same time, the guide allegedly sent her husband down the zip line.
“He’s in that plank position going backwards, so he’s not seeing anything,” Chalik said. “He’s flying at a very quick rate of speed and literally crashes head-on into his wife.”
According to the lawsuit, the zip line company had a history of accidents involving injuries to Royal Caribbean guests — many allegedly caused by faulty emergency brakes.
“We don’t usually have a history of multiple accidents happening,” Chalik said. “Many different Royal Caribbean passengers also suffered injuries as a result of lack of communication between guides or faulty breaking systems.”
Royal Caribbean has yet to file an answer to the complaint.
Read the full complaint: