Cruise Disappearances, Cruise Ship Injuries

What Really Happened To Missing Holland America Cruise Passenger Jason Rappe?


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Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. is made up of attorneys who are nationally recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of cruise lawyers has well over two centuries of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients. Several of our attorneys have even been selected to “Best Lawyers” ® by US News & World Report every year as far back as 2016.

This year, there have been an uncharacteristic number of cruise passenger disappearances, the most recent of which took place last month. A Washington man named Jason Rappe, 42, and his wife Tina had set sail on a seven-day Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Saturday, Nov. 24, never expecting tragedy to befall them. Their vessel, the MS Eurodam, operated by Holland America, was heading from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to the Bahamas.

Tina reported her husband missing early on Thursday, while the ship was about 80 miles northwest of Puerto Rico. But while cruise lines cannot disclose much information on disappearances, there have been several speculations regarding the incident. Some stories say there was a party onboard that got out of hand, others say there was a pub crawl. But no one seems to know exactly what went on before the Olympia man disappeared from onboard the vessel.

So what really happened to Jason Rappe?

Once Rappe was reported missing, Eurodam authorities alerted the Coast Guard, which initiated a search across 2,000 miles of the ocean for 36 hours, before calling off the rescue mission on Friday. While no one specified Rappe went overboard, when cruise ship passengers are unaccounted for, it is imperative to initiate a search and rescue mission around the area at sea that the vessel had been sailing when the passenger was last seen. There have been times in which passengers have been rescued, but then there are other times in which the victims don’t turn up. Unfortunately, the Eurodam returned to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Saturday with no sign of Rappe.

Since then, fellow cruise passengers have been blogging about a pub crawl that the Olympia man reportedly took part in the night before he disappeared. On South Florida’s Sun Sentinel website, one passenger wrote the following:

“It was definitely a frat party or spring break kind of atmosphere with shots being laid out on the bar…as I walked back to my room, it occurred to me that I would not be surprised to learn that someone had fallen overboard or otherwise hurt themselves or someone else. Lo and behold in the middle of the night came the announcement that Mr. Rappe was missing.”

Others, including a 65-year-old passenger named Peg, tell a different story.

“There were only four drinks served to each participant. Jason and his wife were having fun dancing at two of the stops and were enjoying themselves,” she wrote.

The over-serving of alcohol has been known to be a factor in previous cruise passenger disappearances. If for some reason authorities find that this was the case with Rappe, Holland America may be found at least partially liable for the incident and Rappe’s wife may be entitled to receive damages for the line’s negligence.

Holland America has not commented on the pub crawl. In a prior release, the company stated: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the guest and his family.”

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