It happens more often than you might think, with more than 130 jumpers since 1995. Some of them, like 31-year-old Robert Mado, are rescued, but many are never found again. In September, a 34-year-old man on a Carnival cruise was arguing with a woman and got so upset that he jumped off a balcony and into the sea, getting rescued shortly after by a nearby Disney ship. In March 2008, a 39-year-old woman jumped overboard amid a fight with her boyfriend near Key Largo and was never found.
Most of these are suicide attempts or acts of alcohol-fueled passion, but some are truly bizarre. On March 25, 2007, a 22-year-old man and 20-year-old woman were rescued after "accidentally" going overboard from their cabin balcony while making out in view of other passengers. After an investigation, it was discovered that the man was an Air Force Academy cadet with extensive training in water survival, and the woman was a lifeguard. Apparently, they wanted to demonstrate that the cruise industry could indeed effectively save passengers who go overboard. I suppose they succeeded in this, but couldn't there be a better way to accomplish the same goal?
In any case, I reckon that as long as the cruise industry grows, the number of people who go overboard will grow as well. Here's hoping that it doesn't happen when I eventually take my first real cruise. It sounds like a major bummer for the other passengers.
· Coast Guard Finds Missing Cruise Ship Member [AP via Yahoo! News]
· Cruise and Ferry Passengers and Crew Overboard, 1995-2009 [Cruise Junkie]
· Cruise Travel [Jaunted]