A New York City cruise chef was maimed for life when he was “ordered” to help dock the vessel, according to a lawsuit.
Leonel B. Pena, 73, lost three fingers on his left hand in a gruesome Nov. 11 incident aboard the Majestic Princess that has now robbed him of his livelihood, he alleged in court papers.
Pena, who was hired as a cook, was handed a roped and “negligently ordered” to help secure the 110-foot yacht to the dock, according to court papers.
The boat suddenly moved as he was trying to tie it down, tightening the rope and slicing off his pinky, ring and middle fingers, according to the suit.
The Majestic Princess had just returned to Pier 36 in Manhattan following an afternoon cruise to the Statue of Liberty, Pena told The Post.
“I was asked to help assist in docking the boat. It wasn’t part of my job. “They tell me to do something and I do it,” Pena said through a translator.
“My life has changed. I’m trying to adjust to the new normal. I don’t have use of my left hand and everything is difficult. I’m not working, “Pena said, adding,” I feel very sad. “
It all happened in an instant, Pena said.
“I was in complete shock and didn’t realize the fingers were amputated. I looked down and saw all the blood was gushing down and I was missing fingers, ”he recalled.
His fingers fell into the East River and couldn’t be found.
“By the time the police and ambulance arrived the current was moving too much. They had no chance to recover the fingers, “Pena said. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he underwent surgery.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Pena came to the US in 1968. He’s been a cook for about 20 years.
These days, he’s getting physical therapy three times a week and being fitted for prosthetics.
“We believe that whoever did it thought it was a mere minor task to throw a rope around the capstan. My experts say that’s ridiculous, “Pena’s attorney, Lawrence Goldhirsch, told The Post. “Ropes around your waist, it can tear you in half. He wasn’t trained for that. “
Pena is suing boat owner Vista Yacht Cruises of Weehawken, NJ, for unspecified damages.
The Vista Yacht website says the Majestic Princess is US Coast Guard certified and can carry up to 300 passengers. Vista Yacht Cruises did not return messages seeking comment.