What to do about jumpers?

Two people in three weeks died going overboard from cruise ships, one on Carnival, one on NCL. Everyone knows that occasionally people, crew and passengers alike, fall or jump from a ship, but it seems to have become more frequent. My own experience aboard ships has shown that every square inch of public space on the average cruise ship is covered by a video camera. Response time of course can vary considerably from when someone jumps/falls until the "man overboard" notification reaches the bridge, and when rescue operations commence. Often, rescue operations or the cruise line's response to these situations cause a change in itinerary or other aspect of the cruise. Do YOU think there is anything more the cruise lines can do to make it more difficult, or prevent people from going overboard? Should there be some new protocol, or safety measures, or response procedure in order to save lives?

Tags: rescue jump suicide

30 Answers

Here is an example of what the cruise industry is up against. This accident occurred in a building but involves the same scenario. It occurred because a dare devil individual, who no doubt considered himself "bullet proof" and wanted to show off, at a time when he was in an advanced stage of inebriation. So the city is getting sued. This same situation could have occurred at dozens of other similar venues around town.

"Meiners, owner and operator of the Alaska Rendezvous Heli-Guides, was known as a heli-skiing pioneer with an extensive background in ski and avalanche safety instruction.

On the night of Sept. 20, 2012, Meiners, of Valdez, was attending a banquet for the International Snow Science Workshop, a biennial gathering of snow science researchers and avalanche professionals.

Shortly after leaving the banquet hall, Meiners boarded the escalator going down. About a third of the way down, at about 10:50 p.m., he fell over the side of the escalator and plummeted two stories, nearly 47 feet, to the lobby floor, according to police reports.

The lawsuit also accuses employees of SMG of Alaska of serving Meiners alcohol past the point when he was visibly intoxicated. Selling or giving alcohol to someone who is already drunk is illegal under state law [4].

According to the complaint filed by Weidner, a toxicology test found that Meiners had a blood-alcohol level of .235 when he died -- nearly three times the legal limit for driving.

Anchorage’s municipal attorney, Dennis Wheeler, who also serves as president of the board of CIVICVentures. In an interview Monday, Wheeler pointed to surveillance footage that he says shows Meiners trying to ride down the escalator on the handrail. He said it was an apparent attempt by Meiners to “plank,” a kind of stunt that involves lying face-down in unusual places.

The video, which Wheeler provided to Alaska Dispatch News, shows Meiners walking up to the escalator holding a lime green jacket. He boards the escalator by himself and then appears to turn to the right and lean over the railing.

Over the course of a few seconds, Meiners appears to slip forward and out of sight of the camera.

Wheeler said that after Meiners’ fall, the city building official and the escalator company conducted a “thorough review,” examining the escalator for problems in operation and code compliance.

“Everything I’ve seen is, we’re in code compliance. And the fact of the matter is, no matter how safe an escalator is, it’s not designed for people to try to perform stunts on them,” http://www.adn.com/article/20140908/family-man-killed-fall-convention-center-escalator-sues-city-center-operators

It seems that the cruise industry has its work cut out for them when it comes to this matter.Surprised


As was said above, you can't fix stupid. It is next to impossible to accidentally fall overboard as a passenger, providing your fret remain on the deck.

It would be impossible to hire someone to watch each of the hundreds of cameras on board at all times.

How about passengers accepting a bit of personal responsibility? Don't drink o excess, keep your feet on the ground, and now for something completely ridiculous, follow the rules!

Unfortunately we have a whole generation that takes no responsibility for anything with an excuse for everything that goes wrong. They all think they are teflon and nothing sticks to them .... until it is too late.

People need to be responsible for their own actions and accept the consequences. The cruise industry may have flaws and areas to improve upon but people overboard is not one of them .... unless of course it was a broken rail or some other "real" form of negligence. In most cases it is not.

I wonder .. would these same people that sit on the deck rail of a cruise ship be willing to sit on the roof of a van moving down the highway?

I am not sure if any of you are familiar with the Darwin Awards? I not, google it and have a read. Sadly it has a familiar ring to it when it comes to poor judgement and lack of responsibility. We have come a generation of survival of the fittest to survival of the smartest.

Maybe they should have more staff walk the decks or something. When you think of it, when you are on your job--they don't trust their own employees just walking around. They have security. It is assumed that paying customers wouldn't come on vacation only to jump to their deaths from the ship. A ship is like the Empire State Building are any large bridge. Just saying most large structures have security measures to watch and monitor this type of thing....The only difference with a ship is that it moves.

Actually the fact that a ship is moving has very little to do with it. 18 to 19 decks above the sea in a few cases might have a little dramatic effect, but the real distinction due to jumping overboard during a suicide, means it most cases you will never be found, unless in the rare chance somebody sees you go overboard. And it probably won't hurt as much on impact. Of course, as you suggest, it is rare where somebody will purchase a cruise just to commit suicide, but it does happen----more often than many like to admit. But really, a suicide watch over every balcony and every open deck on these monsters? Unrealistic!

Now, in the case of inebriates, as has been espoused on this and at least another thread here, what is society asked to do for these unfortunate souls? Sorry, but I don't tear up.

I refer to it as culling the herd

I can remember when I was young and starting a career in Risk management, insurance litigation a new file came in. I said to issue a denial because "he did something stupid". My boss said you cannot issue a denial because of that, her next comment stuck with me for my career "Stupidity is compensable ".

From the news I gather that last one over board was a lady that was sitting on the balcony railing and fell over backwards..The railing is not at butt level so she had to clime up to sit on the railing. It is very sad, my thoughts go out to the family and friends.

Perhaps the lines should completely plexiglass over all openings? Chain the passengers to the decks? Hire 1000 more staff per ship to watch cameras?

I do not believe the cruise lines could do anything more than they are doing now without doing considerable harm to the 99.9% of the passenger base. I do not believe that anyone (passenger-wise) has ever accidentally fallen off a ship if their feet were on the ground prior to going over.

Rather than placing blame on the ship, why not place blame on the irresponsible "victim"?


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