Electrician killed while working inside cruise ship’s elevator shaft

A crewmember was crushed to death while working on an elevator aboard Carnival Ecstasy as the ship returned to Miami during a three-day cruise.

Jose Sandoval Opazo, 66, of Liguria, Italy, was an electrician on the 2,056-passenger ship, which is owned and operated by Carnival Cruise Line. The accident occurred at about 1815 hours on Dec. 27 as the ship headed home from Nassau, Bahamas.

Alvaro Zabaleta, a detective with the Miami-Dade Police Department, said Opazo was working by himself when he died. He was compressed between the elevator and shaft wall.

“He was inside the shaft when the elevator began to move and it pinned him,” Zabaleta said.

Passengers reported blood flowing from the top of the elevator when the doors opened on Atlantic Deck 8 after the accident. Photos and video of the aftermath were posted online.

In a statement, Carnival said the company “extends its heartfelt sympathy to the family and loved ones of our team member … Appropriate authorities have been notified and a full investigation into the cause of the accident is underway.”

A spokesman for the cruise line did not respond to requests by Professional Mariner for information about what led to the accident or how long Opazo had worked for the company.

In a Facebook post on Dec. 31, John Heald, senior cruise director and brand ambassador for Carnival, wrote that Opazo was “an inspiration to his colleagues and was tremendously respected and admired … We lost one of our own, someone who many of you may have casually walked past when you were on the ship and seen a man simply doing his job.”

By Professional Mariner Staff