Multiple news sources are reporting that a passenger has gone overboard in the Caribbean earlier this morning. The passenger, age 41, is from Washington and was traveling with his wife.
The passenger's wife reportedly discovered her husband missing from the Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship Eurodam. The U.S. Coast Guard said that, according to HAL, a baseball cap was located on one of the decks that was allegedly confirmed by the wife of the missing passenger as belonging to him. The ship was sailing from St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands) to the Bahamas when the man disappeared early today.
The Coast Guard issued a statement that it was conducting a search after being notified of the incident at 5:00 AM. Two Coast Guard ships and a helicopter have been dispatched to search for the passenger, whose name has not been released.
HAL issued a statement that the cruise ship turned around at some point and has joined the search for the missing passenger. The ship left Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Saturday for a seven-day cruise.
You can read about prior recent disappearances from HAL cruise ships:
The Veendam just last month.
The Oosterdam involving a young man.
The Maasdam involving an elderly man.
The Zaandam involving a young woman.
The overboard from the Zaandam revealed a lack of credibility by HAL's PR department.
Cruise line expert Professor Ross Klein has documented 197 over-boards from cruise ships since the year 2000.
HAL has had 5 passengers overboard from its cruise ships in just the last couple of years. All remain mysteries.
As best as I can tell, there has never been a determination regarding the cause of any of the HAL over-boards and there has never been a case where HAL admitted that it had closed circuit television (CCTV) images of what happened.
It's disturbing that people can somehow just disappear on the high seas with no explanation and no video of what happened. You'd think that the cruise line would revamp its security systems when not one single overboard has been solved in the last three years. It also raises the issue whether HAL is being transparent with the public.
November 30, 2012 Update: The missing passenger has been identified in the press as Jason Gregory Rappe. HAL issued a statement to the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel newspaper, which you can read here.The statement is silent regarding when the wife reported her husband missing to the cruise line and when the cruise line notified the Coast Guard. In recent overboard cases, the cruise lines have delayed as long as several hours before notifying the Coast Guard.
December 1, 2012 Update: The Eurodam returns to Fort Lauderdale this morning and the FBI should be boarding the cruise ship. At the same time, over two thousand passengers will disembark and begin to head home.
December 3, 2012 Update: Walker & O'Neill Retained to Investigate Disappearance of Cruise Passenger Jason Rappe' From HAL's Eurodam Our firm was retained today to represent the Rappe' family find answers to what happened on the cruise ship.
If you were on the cruise and have information about Mr. Rappe's disappearance (photo right), please contact me directly - email@example.com
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Top: Welkinridge / Wikipedia
Bottom: Rappe' family