There’s something that fascinates us all about disappearances from cruise ships. One minute, a passenger’s enjoying the luxury of the cruising experience, and the next minute, they’ve been lost to the cold vastness of the ocean.
On the weekend, another report of a passenger disappearing from a cruise ship hit the headlines. This time it was a 63-year-old woman from South Korea who went missing from the Norwegian Epic in between France and Majorca. She was last seen sitting on her balcony at 1am Saturday, wearing pink pyjamas.
When her family woke up and realised she’d gone missing, the ship turned around and returned to the place where she’d last been seen. Passengers were asked to look for her, and a helicopter joined the search.
“There were maybe a couple of hundred passengers looking for a while,” British tourist Angelia Elliott told The Sun. “I think in the end, most passengers sadly realised that there would not be much hope of her being found alive after all that time in the water.”
A spokesperson for the Norwegian Epic put out a statement.
“Sadly, the guest has not yet been found,” the statement read. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the individual’s family during this difficult time.”
So how often do people disappear from cruise ships?
A spokesperson from Cruise Lines International Association tells Mamamia that in 2018, there were 13 instances of passengers overboard worldwide, from a total of 28.5 million people who took a cruise that year.
“Publicly available data shows that incidents of man overboard on cruise ships are rare and have been the unfortunate result of intentional acts or, in some cases, reckless behaviour,” the spokesperson explains. “There are no known cases of someone acting responsibly who has accidentally fallen over the railing of a cruise ship. Safety regulations such as uniform, minimum railing and balcony heights, structural barriers and other requirements prevent passengers who are acting responsibly from falling.”
Over the years, disappearances from cruise ships have led to inquests, trials, TV movies and episodes of Dr Phil. Here are some of the most memorable ones.