Vernon Witsell, 56, of Queens, New York was aboard the Skyline Princess when police say that he jumped into Flushing Bay between Rikers Island and College Point in Queens around 0210 hours on Sunday August 21, 2016.
NYPD officers arrived a short time later finding Witsell aboard Skyline Princess unconscious, unresponsive and handcuffed.
The cruise ship crew allegedly threw Witsell a life ring after he crawled over the cruise ship railing and jumped overboard. They say, instead of grabbing the life ring, he grabbed onto the cruise ship engine exhaust pipe which they claim, caused burns to his hands and chest.
Additionally, the cruise ship’s security said that once they got Witsell aboard, he fought them, so he was handcuffed.
He was transported by harbor police to the NYPD pier. He was then taken by EMS to Flushing Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Skyline Princess does year-round yacht dinner cruises, wedding cruise and private charter cruises in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the Long Island Sound.
Skyline Princess is owned by Skyline Cruises Inc of Flushing, New York. New York Department of State records indicate Skyline Cruises Inc has been a Foreign Business Corporation in the State of New York since April 19, 2001.
This case is unfolding, please check back. If you were on this cruise and have information about the alleged events, please contact us. This case can also be found on the Cruise Ship Deaths