Couple witnesses horrific cruise ship death

Posted at 9:26 AM, Dec 31, 2015

(CNN) — A crew member on a Caribbean cruise ship died while working on an elevator, the company said.

Passengers aboard the Carnival Ecstasy witnessed part of the horrifying incident Sunday evening in which blood poured down the front of the elevator.

Matt Davis and his wife were on their way to dinner when they came across the gory scene.

“To look and see the elevator with just blood coming down like a sheet, and not stopping … it was a real life scene of ‘The Shining,'” Davis told CNN affiliate WFTX, referring to the 1980 horror movie.

As the couple looked on aghast at the flowing blood, which they said sounded like a rainstorm, a crew member was trying to usher people back inside the restaurant.

‘Something terrifying happened’

Davis and his wife took photos and video of what they saw on their cell phones. In one clip they shared with WFTX, a man can be heard shouting, “No, that can’t be right! No, that’s not possible!”

The elevator was eventually sealed off, Davis said, with a sign that read, “Sorry, but I’m not working at the moment.”

He said crew members told him that an electrician had been working on the elevator.

“A crew member or somebody was inside or behind that wall when the elevator came down, and I don’t know what happened, but something terrifying happened,” he told WFTX.

A spokesman for Carnival, Vance Gulliksen, told CNN that a crew member died Sunday on the ship while working on an elevator.

‘I couldn’t wait to get off the ship’

“The company extends its heartfelt sympathy to the family and loved ones of our team member,” Gulliksen said Wednesday, adding that it was providing support.

“Appropriate authorities have been notified and a full investigation into the cause of the accident is underway,” he said. The ship was on the final leg of a 3-day cruise from Miami when it happened.

Gulliksen didn’t provide the name of the deceased employee, but the Miami-Dade Police Department identified him to WFTX as 66-year-old Jose Sandoval Opazo, an electrician on the ship.

Carnival Corporation, which owns the cruise line, has experienced a number high-profile problems on its ships in recent years, including the capsizing of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy in 2012 and a crippling fire on the Carnival Triumph in 2013.

For Davis and his family, what had started as a happily memorable trip on the Carnival Ecstasy became one they wished they could forget.

“I couldn’t wait to get off the ship,” he said. “I just wanted to get off.”

Artemis Moshtaghian and Kate Conerly contributed to this report.

To watch the FOX 4 Now report, click here, but some of the images may be disturbing.