One of the most common and devastating types of cruise ship accidents any passenger (or crew member) can suffer is an overboard accident. According to statistics on cruisejunkie.com, a frightening 262 man overboard accidents have transpired in the past 20 years. Unfortunately, the chances of survival are slim to none.
Of the 74 people who have been documented falling off cruise ships between February 2000 and May 2013, only 16 survived – roughly 22 percent. Aside from the sheer impact of falling several stories into open waters, the water itself can be frigid and inhabited by dangerous marine creatures. The chance of surviving an overboard accident at night is even smaller.
Moreover, cruise ships have certain protocols in place when it comes to handling a cruise passenger disappearance report. Even if the fall is witnessed by other passengers or crew members, cruise lines will rarely make an immediate stop to search for the victim. Instead, they will undergo a lengthy investigation on board and review footage before turning the ship around to search for the overboard victim at the location where they were last seen. By the time this happens, it is usually too late.
When performing a search and rescue for a missing cruise ship passenger, time is of the essence. A few years back, a female passenger – who sought representation with our firm – fell overboard from a Carnival Cruise Line ship. One of her travel mates actually witnessed the fall and immediately reported the accident to the ship’s crew. However, the crew refused to stop the vessel, taking over an hour and a half to turn the ship around to search for the victim. By miracle, our client was found – two hours after her accident – alive, despite suffering severe injuries.
Unfortunately, this is just one of few rare cases in which an overboard accident victim survives. The odds are against those who fall from a ship, as our cruise ship accident attorneys, sadly, know all too well.
And now, we’ve come to learn of another overboard accident that happened tonight, off the coast of Massachusetts. We’re hoping that this particular case will have a similar positive ending, but so far, not much has been revealed regarding the particular details of the incident or the victim’s condition.
According to accident reports, the victim, a female passenger, fell from the Seabourn Quest luxury cruise ship earlier this evening. The accident occurred roughly 10 miles off the coast of Cape Ann near Massachusetts.
Seabourn Quest crew members contacted the Coast Guard to report the incident at around 7 PM. Shortly after, Coast Guard authorities in Boston dispatched a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from the Gloucester station, a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from the Air Station in Cape Cod, and the 270-foot cutter Campbell from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to search for the missing passenger.
Along with the Coast Guard, Rockport, Massachusetts Harbormasters also responded to the emergency and initiated their own search mission. About an hour and a half later, Harbormasters located the victim and pulled her from the water. The victim was then met by emergency medical crews, who were waiting by the shore.
Authorities haven’t stated whether the woman survived or how exactly the accident occurred. Our cruise ship accident lawyers will post updates as soon as they become available.