Tour operator sued by family of boy killed inwhale-watching accident

Pacific Business News (Honolulu) - January 6, 2004

The family of Ryker Hamilton, the 3-year-old boy who died in a whale-watching accident on Christmas Day, sued tour operator Dream Cruises on Monday for wrongful death and negligence. Honolulu Attorney Rick Fried Jr., who represents the family, said an out-of-court settlement couldn't be reached with Dream Cruises. The company, its president and the boat captain are named in the suit.

The suit alleges that the man at the helm of the boat, American Dream, wasn't paying attention and was driving too fast, causing the boat to strike a whale. Mike Watson, president and co-owner of Dream Cruises, said the incident was a freak accident and its crew did nothing wrong.

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The American Dream has not been in service since the day of the accident. The captain blew out the engine speeding back to shore that day to get medical help for the injured boy, who died later in a hospital. American Dream is expected to be back in service toward the end of this week.

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