Fort Lauderdale man says Celebrity Equinox got within 100 feet of his home

'Somebody's going to get fired,' man yells as ship stops

By Victor Oquendo - Anchor/Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Bill Todhunter and his wife are used to seeing cruise ships pass by their waterfront home. But on Friday night, the Celebrity Equinox ship was way too close for comfort. 

"I looked up and all I could see was the bow of the vessel, and it was towering over the house," Bill Todhunter said.

Todhunter looked over at Port Everglades from his backyard, where cruise ships regularly pass by, but he said the night’s experience  was a first. 

"We've been here for six years. We've never seen anything like that," Todhunter said. "We've never seen anything that close."

He believes that ship was about 100 feet from his house.

"When the cruise ship's thrusters stopped, there was silence and I yelled, 'Somebody's going to get fired,' and everybody on the cruise started applauding," Todhunter said.

He said that the ship was so close, those on board could hear him.

"As Equinox departed on Friday, March 3, she was in her assigned channel at all times under the guidance of specialized local port pilots," Celebrity Cruises said in a statement. "The ship operated safely and did not put guests or crew at risk. We can also confirm the ship did not touch bottom."

Todhunter doesn’t believe the statement.

He researched the Equinox online and found the ship's information. 

"So you know that there's 25 feet of ship below the waterline, and so it's obviously touching bottom,"  Todhunter said.

He the ship used its thrusters and eventually backed out and then took off. 

"To say it's in the proper channel is a bogus statement," Todhunter said.

Todhunter contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and said the agency was conducting a full investigation.

Coast Guard Lt. Ryan Kelly told Local 10 News Wednesday that the Coast Guard reached out to the cruise line and the pilots association, both of which said that the ship never grounded and remained in the proper shipping lane, according to the chart plotting system.

Kelly said that it is required by law for cruise companies and cruise captains to report a grounding incident.

The investigation has been closed.

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