Conflicting Stories Cloud Man's Cruise Ship Fall

Royal Caribbean says "domestic dispute" led man to jump.

November 9, 2015, 12:34 PM

— -- Conflicting stories have raised questions about the cruise ship passenger who went overboard about 90 miles off the coast of the Bahamas.

The incident occurred Friday with the U.S. Coast Guard joining Royal Caribbean in a search for Bernardo Elbaz, who was on a Royal Caribbean Cruises ship with his husband.

The search was suspended Saturday with Capt. Todd Coggeshall, the Coast Guard's 7th District chief of response management, expressing his sympathies to the man's family and friend.

"We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones and all that have been affected by this tragedy," he said in a statement.

But now, queries have been raised over exactly what happened that night.

"He was pretty intoxicated, got into a disagreement with a guy, security then got involved," Logan Cunningham, a passenger on the ship, said.

The lawyer for Elbaz's family, Michael Winkleman, said anti-gay comments were made against the couple prior to Elbaz's death. Winkleman told ABC News that when a ship employee approached Elbaz again after the argument, somehow he fell off the balcony and onto that lifeboat.

"Royal Caribbean has said from the get-go that this was a domestic dispute and a suicide and what I've come to learn is in fact almost the opposite of that," Winkleman said. "… From the video I have seen, it’s very clear they were arguing about the anti-gay remarks that were being made against the couple."

But Royal Caribbean says that’s not true, telling ABC News overnight that its security team went to the couple’s room after another guest on board "complained about a domestic dispute," adding "our staff did not have a physical altercation with the guest" and was "unable to prevent his jumping from the stateroom balcony."

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