Jet Buzzes Norwegian Breakaway?A reader of Cruise Law News sent me a link to a YouTube video which seems to show a jet aircraft flying low and perilously close to the Norwegian Breakaway.

The video was apparently filmed by a passenger on the cruise ship last Friday, June 24th, and was posted to the YouTube page of Richard Ogle, with this description:

“I have no idea what his intentions were, but I guarantee we all didn’t like it. Whoever was the pilot of the Falcon, was either a terrorist who was spying on us, marine training, or a dumbass rich dude who’s showing off his new aircraft. I don’t know what the true answer is but I know that it wasn’t normal and more than likely illegal for anything to be flying that close to a ship, especially 4 times in a row. Either way, nobody was hurt, but most were completely terrified, and I hope everybody is ok. The Video was taken on the Sundeck (Deck18) on the Norwegian Breakaway (NCL) on a 7 day round trip cruise from New York to Bermuda, at 4:30 PM at St. George, Bermuda June 24, 2016.”

I initially though that the video was a hoax, but probably just because I have never seen this before.  I have seen some footage of Russian military jets and helicopters buzzing U.S. naval ships over the years but nothing like this involving a cruise ship. One of the few comments to the video suggests that the captain of the cruise ship may have announced that the incident involved “some type of military training operations” but there is no verification of this.

The jet in question does not appear to be a military airplane, but otherwise this seems to be a scene right out of a Top Gun movie! (” Sorry, Goose, but it’s time to buzz the tower!”)

Anyone have information about this?  Thanks.

Update: A reader pointed out that Captain Kate MccCue poster a video on instagram of a jet buzzing a Celebrity cruise ship (the Summit) which you can see here.

Update # 2: Answer to the mystery?  A reader posted on our Facebook page that a Bermuda newspaper says that that two military jets have been flying low altitude circuits over Bermuda this evening [June 24] and mentioned “low flying French Air Force Falcon aircraft.” There is apparently a dispute whether the low level flights were authorized by the Department of Civil Aviation in Bermuda.

Video / Image Credit: Richard Ogle YouTube page.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=pAMYeRqy5DA%3Frel%3D0

 

  • Rob

    So low it initially made me think evading radar, could be drugs, but why 4 passes?

  • Roseann Benedetto

    My husband and I were on this cruise and I can tell you it was terrifying !!

  • Bill

    I was on this cruise and it did happen.
    My wife and I were in the Cagney’s restaurant
    so we did not see it but many of the passengers
    on board were talking about it an saying it was
    very scary.

  • This is really weird … I really can’t understand why???

  • Michael Gecht

    I hope that NCL is persuing this fly-by with FAA & NORAD. Something like this incident could cripple the cruise industry if the matter wasnt followed through on.

  • Joe

    FAA/NORAD has no authority in Bermuda. That would be up to whatever Bermuda calls their aviation authority.

  • Mike

    That is a Falcon business jet, that could be modified and used for the Military.

  • Jack H

    Doesn’t look all that close to me.

  • Roseann

    I was onboard the Breakaway when this happened, and I can tell you it was terrifying!!! I asked the captain the following day and a Q & A with the top brass. The captain seemed amused and said he heard a lot of stories but had not witnessed it. He also said the plane was not close to us and there was no danger!! I guess if he did see it he would have thought differently. My husband and I and plenty of other guests were terrified.

  • jon
  • Brent

    Beautiful airplane. If I was on the cruise, I’d be loving the “break in the monotony” airshow!
    Was it too far away or too fast to read the marines wording? If not, that should also make you feel just a little safer about other types of terrorist activities.

    More about it:
    http://tangentlink.com/2016/02/16/final-additional-french-navy-maritime-surveillance-falcon-50/
    http://navaltoday.com/2016/05/24/france-receives-fourth-falcon-50-maritime-surveillance-aircraft/
    http://www.airplane-pictures.net/photo/728310/78-france-air-force-dassault-falcon-50-marine/

    Even if it weren’t military, what kind of laws do you think it was breaking? I don’t think there’s anything the cruise ship can do, unless they can prove the pilot was bring reckless and putting their lives in danger. Funny people will complain about this, then the next day they they’ll go to Maho beach so they can stand 30 feet below a landing 747.

  • Tom Allmendinger

    That looks like a French Maritime Patrol Falcon 50 to me. I don’t think they did anything dangerous or approached too close at any point in the video. On a 2008 cruise to Barcelona on the Disney Magic I saw a French Atlantique ATL3 Maritime Patrol Aircraft do a similar set of maneuvers in the open ocean about half way between Florida and Spain.

  • Frans

    Dangerous it was not. As a former airforce pilot, I can assure you this wasn’t really low or close. Wether it was authorized is another matter, I think not. Normally regulations do not allow flight over and near civilian objects so low or close.
    He/she/they must have been showing off.

  • Hugh O’Hare

    I witnessed this incident including an initial fly by across the bow of the ship at bridge height and several passes at deck height (level 13 was where my cabin was located). No announcements were made from the crew about this incident.

  • Jeffrey Johnson

    Was there. Only heard the first fly by, the watched the next three. Took pics of the fourth with a good close up. Would post it here if I could. We were mostly amused, hardly terrified. Made for a good story back home. Three jets on the tail. Looks like “Marine” on the side.
    Plus what looks like an “s” design or logo of some sort on the tail and nose. No numbers noticeable.

  • Werner T

    This was a training excersize by the French navy. They did the same thing with Celebrity Summit. Our captain was gracious enough to inform us of the event and the intention behind it. This was brilliant to witness and was the most exciting experience at sea ever!

  • Patti Claffy

    I have a video of the same plane buzzing our cruise ship the Celebrity Summit. My video actually shows it much closer to our ship without any zoom used (as in the one posted here) Having trouble linking it here, but it’s on Facebook!

  • Frank Mazzara

    I think that no matter what the intentions, it was very distasteful to do something like this to a large group of people who watched in horror as airplanes flew into our buildings killing thousands in a terrorist attack. You would think someone with a brain might be sensitive to that. It was frightening to watch it at first but it also resonated for the entire trip home as it made us wonder if we were sitting ducks in the open ocean for a rouge terrorist pilot to kill 4000 people in a heartbeat. Not a nice way to end my vacation. I think the French military owes us all a cruise. Has anyone gotten an attorney involved? I’m pursuing it. Maybe we should pursue it as a group.

  • tinikini

    I would think that this would be exciting and terrifying all at that same time. If this is something that the cruise lines are aware of in a particular area…an announcement would be nice, rather than passengers in a panic.

  • Denny

    I asked the Captain that evening and expressed how we and all others on the 8th deck were terrified and thought of 9/11. Does anyone think the Middle East terrorists wouldn’t like to drown 6000 people?!! The Captain should be fired-stupid jerk.

  • Jay

    I was on the Celebrity Summit and personally watched this jet scream straight at us, head on, multiple times, then suddenly veer off less than one second away from impact! This was totally irresponsible. The pilot should be court marshaled.

  • Ed

    I was on the other ship going from Bermuda to NJ (Celebrity Summit). The Breakaway & Summit cruised the same route to & from Bermuda. This plane is from the French Navy and they asked permission to practice ship identification maneuvers. Our Captain on the Summit & other staff had made several announcements and in no way was this an aggressive moves. The aircraft is an unarmed Falcon 50. It’s just a surveillance aircraft. I assume the crew on the Breakaway did not notify the passengers and that is a shame. It was actually very cool to watch.

  • Gail Fishkin

    I was also on the breakaway and it was very scary. I was on my balcony on the 9th deck as it passed eye level 4 times. It was very close and very unnerving. The NCL boat did not make any announcement which is a shame as it would have been cool to watch had we all known it was not a threat. Even after the fly by no announcement was made which made the rest of the trip somewhat unpleasurable.

  • Evelyn Williams

    We (our Seabourn Quest cruise ship) was buzzed by a Falcon early May in the Bay of Biscay off of France. It was terrifying. We thought it was a missle. A pilot up on the sundeck recognized it as a Falcon – apparently French military. No joke..

  • Mark

    We all know terrorist don’t fly airplanes. And what harm could an unarmed aircraft do to a civilian cruise ship that has over 6000 people on board. Besides, France isn’t having any problems terrorist.
    Or, was it Bill and his good ole buddies looking a the bikinis?

  • Mari

    At that time, my friend and I were on the Breakaway on Deck 8 (out of 16) looking out at the sea when out of nowhere this jet buzzed by so low and zoomed out from the front of the ship. It then flew out about a mile or so, turned around, and this time it came back straight at us! It seemed as if it was using the ocean as a runway – that’s how low it flew. It came very close to us and then quickly swooped up and over the ship. Terrifying is putting it mildly. The video posted here does not capture what we witnessed. This was not an air show – it seemed more like a trial run for a suicide terror attack. After all this, not one announcement from the captain.
    I’m relieved to read above that this turned out to be the French Navy doing surveillance maneuvers although it was still “too close” for comfort!

  • Martha

    I was on the Breakaway when this happened. Had we been told it was an exercise, it would have been a cool story to tell at home. The way it happened was terrifying. I was sitting on my balcony and witnessed all four fly bys and that plane was close.
    I, too, spoke to the captain, after a q&a and he was a glib asshat. He made it seem like I was being ridiculous. He was affronted that I was implying he couldn’t keep us safe, while simultaneously admitting he had no idea it was going to happen. I told him we tried to call the main desk and the switchboards were jammed. He said they only received four complaints. Baloney! it was terrifying and my teenage daughters were crying. Not cool AT ALL.

  • I really can’t believe this. So wierd ..

  • Kristin

    This was not military it was a Lear jet. The captain tried saying it was a French naval military operation that was stopped, 1st lie as no military does anything that close under radar near civilians. 2nd lie from captain/crew it was a permitted flyby for video footage, well why wasn’t an announcement made to passengers prior or after event? Also it approached us deck level under Radar circled us under radar about 4 times
    Then came back and maneuvered just feet away from
    The top deck water slides. That was clearly when I knew something wasn’t right. The U.K. Just left the union days prior and our vessel was U.K. Owned. US military was contacted and plane reported as terrorist activity. We were given fly bys from the US the rest of
    Our cruise home and I’m sure that jet was shot out of the sky but that will never be revealed. Will never cruise with Norwegian again, captains error he should have reported it and U.K. Royal Navy f16s should have been there within minutes for flyby.