A California couple is suing a Maui-based tour company. USA Today reported that the lovers were left in the middle of the sea during a snorkeling trip.
The lawsuit was filed on February 23. The couple is suing Seal Maui for $5 million.
According to the document, Elizabeth Webster and Alexander Burkle were forced to go swimming at the beach alone on September 23, 2021.
The couple say they have been traumatized since being abandoned in rough waters.
“They are actually shocked about this. They are in psychiatric treatment and have physical symptoms of anxiety,” says Jared Washkowitz, the attorney representing Elizabeth Webster and Alexander Burkle.
On September 23, 2021, Mrs. Webster and Mr. Burkle took part in the Lanai Coast Snorkel Tour. Departing from Lahaina, the group stopped at several dive sites to observe dolphins.
According to the lawsuit, the captain, during the first stop, informed the group of the precautions to be taken, without specifying a specific date for the return.
After about an hour of diving, the sea became more and more turbulent. When the couple decided to return to the boat, it began to drift away. According to the complaint, the duo asked for help.
Another passenger noticed that the couple was far out at sea, but the boat crew would have answered that the number of passengers was correct. He would have counted three times. The first two counts would have indicated that two of the 44 passengers were missing. But at the third count, the team had counted 44 people.
While trying to follow the boat, which was heading to the second station, the couple found themselves in deep water, fearing that they would drown, according to the lawsuit. The claimants realized that the ship had left them and would not return for them. They decided that their only option for survival at that time was to return to the coast. Approximately one kilometer separated the couple from the shore.
Upon reaching the shore, they were both tired and dehydrated. They also have wounds.
Elizabeth Webster reportedly wrote “SOS” and “HELP” in the sand, while waving palm branches at passing boats with her companion.
In the end, they manage to find another couple and manage to borrow their cell phone to call Sail Maui. The company was not aware of their absence. The company will then transfer the couple to Maui by ferry.
After an investigation, the Coast Guard accused Mawil of negligence.
The trial will take place on April 24.
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