Overboard passengers spark debate

The rescue of a man from a Royal Caribbean ship has sparked debate on how to detect or prevent passengers falling overboard.
A 22-year-old man fell off the Oasis of the Sea last month and was later, rescued from the Gulf of Mexico.
He was picked up by a Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Magic as the ship was approaching Cozumel in the Caribbean Sea, which was a scheduled port-of-call stop.
The crew lowered a lifeboat and rescued the man and he was taken to shore for treatment.
But he is just one of the rare and lucky cases where men (and woman) overboard were found.
In fact it is extremely rare (only about .000085 per cent according to CruisePage.com) for anyone to be rescued.
American Maritime attorney Jim Walker said on his blog that cruise lines were hesitant to discuss systems they have in place or have planned for their ships.
But the systems would include motion sensors and thermal detection systems that would indicate if anyone fell overboard.
He said the systems should be linked to an alarm to notify crew members to start an immediate search-and-rescue operation.
CruisePage.com has compiled a list of known incidents of passengers and crew who have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000.
Of the 80 incidents CruisePage looked at, only 16 were rescued.
The site found that many of the victims were drink, trying to climb railings or balconies, or in some cases, a combination of the two.
In 2007, two students who were on spring break onboard the Grand Princess fell off a balcony into the Gulf of Mexico during a night of partying.
Reports circulated that they were either re-enacting the “king of the world” scene from Titanic or they were mucking around on the balcony, especially since the 22-year-old man was found naked (he claims he took his clothes off to swim).
Luckily, their friends saw them fall into the water and alerted the crew.
The 20-year-old woman was found half an hour before her male companion. They escaped the ordeal without any life threatening injuries.
Needless to say, the man was seen partying on the ship for the rest of his holiday.


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