The incident occurred as the crew members were in a lifeboat that was being raised on Empress of the Seas' starboard side. When it was about 30 feet in the air, its cables became detached. It then dropped into the water.
According to a statement from Royal Caribbean, the seven crew members, who were thrown into the water, were immediately taken to the hospital. Three sustained minor cuts and bruises. One had a broken arm and wrist, along with back injuries. Another had a broken shoulder. Only one crew member had serious injuries -- a significant cut to his chest.
The accident, which a Royal Caribbean spokesman attributed to human error, occurred when a release mechanism improperly detached.
No passengers were in the vicinity; in fact, few were even aware of the accident as most were ashore at the time.