Cruise ships may seem like floating hotels, but passengers face some risks they never would on land, even in calm seas. There have been five man overboard incidents involving cruise ship crew and passengers so far this year, most recently involving a Florida man on the Carnival Victory cruise ship.
At 6:30 a.m. yesterday, a crewmember aboard 44-foot lobster boat ANNA MARY reported a man missing. The man had last been seen the night before when he assumed the 9:00 watch; apparently, he went overboard sometime during his watch. The Coast Guard launched an extensive search by air and sea, joined by other agencies and Good Samaritan vessel crews, which ended up covering over 780 square miles.
Just after midnight this morning, F/V PACIFIC HORIZON arrived in Icy Strait, which is about 40 miles west of Juneau, to meet up with the deckhand and captain of 34-foot F/V SWIFT; they found no one aboard. The PACIFIC HORIZON crew contacted the Coast Guard, which issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched a search of the area.
F/V ESPERANZA lost a crew member to drowning at around 7:30 a.m. on June 10 when Cornell Perry Bean, Jr. went overboard without a life jacket in the Gulf of Alaska near Cordova. It took ESPERANZA crewmates about ten minutes to locate him in the foggy weather, after which CPR was administered for another hour. Sadly, the CPR did not revive Mr. Bean.
On Friday, March 15, a 35-year-old fishermen fell overboard off 58-foot STELLA into four-foot, 37.6 degree Fahrenheit seas. The winds were blowing up to 20 mph, creating freezing spray. According to reports, the fisherman was in the water for about 25 minutes while his crewmates undertook his successful rescue. He was not wearing an immersion suit when he went overboard, and suffered hypothermia such that the crew called the Coast Guard to medevac the man for medical attention. So far, there have been no updates on the man's condition or name.
On January 16, at about 1:30 a.m., the crew of Westport-based F/V SENJA radioed the Coast Guard that their crew mate, said to be 56-year-old John Salas, had gone overboard while setting crab pots approximately eight miles west of the mouth of the Queets River. According to reports, he was not wearing a life jacket. Seas at the time were calm with good visibility and a water temperature of about 48 degrees. After a search by air and sea of over seven hours, covering over 91 square miles, the Coast Guard was compelled to suspend the search. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Salas and his family and friends.
EURODAM, a Holland America cruise ship which left Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on November 24 for a seven-day cruise, alerted the Coast Guard at 5:00 this morning of a possible man overboard, after his wife reported him missing. His baseball cap was found on deck. EURODAM was about 80 miles northwest of Puerto Rico, bound for the Bahamas from St. Thomas, at that time. The U.S. Coast Guard launched a helicopter, a patrol boat, and a cutter out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to search for the man; Holland America reported that EURODAM turned around in hopes of locating him. The man's name has not been released, but he is said to be a 42-year-old from Washington State.
The owner/captain of F/V DARLIN' MICHELLE, Theodore Lynch of Haines, AK, went overboard while shrimping about a mile west of Skagway Harbor, AK, during the early afternoon of October 23. Attempts to pull him back into the boat failed. According to an initial Alaska State Patrol report, Mr. Lynch's son-in-law repeatedly threw a life ring to him in order to pull him in, but Mr. Lynch's life jacket detached and came off of him during the third try at being pulled on board. He was unable to grab on and was lost.
According to the Coast Guard, a fisherman fell overboard 30 miles northwest of Sitkinak Island the morning of October 12. Sitkinak Island is south of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. The Coast Guard deployed two helicopters, and airplane, and a cutter to search for the man. After searching a roughly 550 square mile area, the search was suspended at 9:37 p.m. Seas were reported to be six feet with 20 mph winds at the time.
Sometime around 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. on September 20, passengers aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ship SERENADE OF THE SEAS reported a man overboard in rough seas in the Adriatic Sea, about 40 miles off Ancona, while bound for Venice, Italy. Apparently, the man was a 24-year-old man from Panama who was working as a galley steward. Italian and Croatian Coast Guards conducted a search by sea and by air, but did not find him.