A cruise ship vacation can be a fun adventure or a relaxing vacation, but it can also quickly turn into a nightmare, as was the case for a passenger aboard the MSC Divina in early January. The 74-year-old Frenchman, Jeon Pierre Knorr, fell overboard in the Caribbean and could not be recovered. Since the early 2000s, the number of passengers going overboard on cruises has increased, and few of these accidents result in successful rescues.
Search Called off
Knorr’s wife told authorities that the tragic incident occurred in the early hours of the morning on January 2nd. Her husband went out to the cabin balcony for fresh air and did not return. It was assumed that he fell overboard, but why he fell, whether it was a maritime accident or intentional, remains unclear. The ship officials notified the U.S. Coast Guard and reported doing an extensive search of the ship, but could not find the man. By January 4th, the Coast Guard search of the waters was called to a halt. The search extended over an area of 2,000 square feet, but the French vacationer could not be found.
Cruise Ship Overboard Statistics
Falls overboard on cruise ships are not as uncommon as many would like to think. These tragic incidents have even become more common over the last decade. Sometimes they are accidents, but in other cases they may be intentional suicides, or attempted homicides. Often, the cause of the accident is never determined and the body never found.
Around the early 2000s, there were approximately 10 over board falls from cruise ships per year, but now there are 20 or more occurring every year. According to collected statistics, nearly half of all falls occur on Carnival cruise ships, while Royal Caribbean ships account for the next largest group off falls each year. The accidents more often occur with men, and the average age of overboard victims is 41. The last night of a cruise is the most likely time for someone to go overboard and the people who do are often reported to have been drinking.
Not all people who fall overboard are lost forever. Some have been recovered, even after many hours in the water. However, many more die and some are never found, leaving their disappearances a complete mystery to their loved ones.
Crew Members May Also Go Overboard
It isn’t only passengers on cruise ships who go overboard. Collected statistics on overboard accidents show that several cruise ship crew members have also fallen overboard. Some of these incidents occurred during safety and lifeboat drills, while others occurred in mysterious circumstances, some have been ruled suicides, and others were ruled suspicious.
If you work on board a cruise ship, understand the serious risks and that overboard falls are not restricted to cruise passengers. It’s also important to understand your rights and that if negligence leads to a fall or other type of injury, the Jones Act may be a way for you to file a claim to seek damages from your employer.