Luxury yacht charter blamed for passenger's death

By Noddy A. Fernandez | Dec 29, 2017

CLEARWATER — A personal representative of a deceased passenger is suing a yacht charter, alleging negligence.

Linda Hibbeln, as personal representative of the estate of Jie Luo, deceased, filed a complaint Nov. 29 in Pinellas County Circuit Court against Todd Davis, Patrick Dines and Azure Ocean Escapes LLC, alleging violation of the Florida Wrongful Death Act.

According to the complaint, on March 14, Luo was a passenger and customer of Azure on the motor yacht Jaguar that was operated by Captain Davis and Dines. The suit says Luo jumped off the vessel while anchored in Pass a Grille Channel off St. Petesburg without the defendants deploying any safety ropes or lines that could have aided his return to the ship. 

As a result, the suit states, Jie Luo was lost at sea and drowned with his body being recovered March 22. 

The plaintiff alleges the defendants failed to ensure that any and all safety devices were readily accessible to all passengers and were in proper working condition and failed to immediately contact the Coast Guard or other authorities to report a missing passenger.

Hibbeln seeks trial by jury, damages of more than $15,000, court costs and interest, and all other relief the court deems proper. She is represented by attorneys Christopher A. Boyd of Butler & Boyd PA in Tampa, and by Marc Lyons and Phillip M. Snyder of Lyons, Snyder & Collin, PA in Plantation.

Pinellas County Circuit Court case number 17CA007026

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