A cruise passenger reportedly went overboard early this morning from the Seven Seas Mariner.
The cruise ship was returning, eventually, to Vancouver from a cruise to ports in Alaska. The ship was sailing to Victoria on the 10th day of an 11-day Alaska cruise which began in Vancouver on June 30th. The cruise ship apparently first realized that the passenger had gone overboard when the ship was just north of Cape Flattery, at the northwestern tip of Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula.
The captain of the cruise ship reportedly told the Coast Guard that video footage showed a passenger jumping into the sea from an eighth-deck balcony at 4:15 a.m. AIS data shows that the cruise ship has turned around and has sailed to the northwest apparently in search for the overboard passenger.
Shortly after releasing information about how the passenger went overboard, the Coast Guard in the Pacific Northwest district in the tweeted:
“In previous post, the word “jump” was used, however we have NO indication of why the individual went overboard. Investigation will help determine what happened. Again, we have NO CLEAR info on what lead to him going overboard; crews actively searching at this time.”
In this case, the Coast Guard has at least accurately reported that the passenger went overboard earlier this morning. In the last overboard cruise ship case, the Coast Guard erroneously reported that a crew member was seen going overboard from the Norwegian Getaway at 3:20 PM (which is when NCL finally realized that he was missing from the ship) when he actually went into the water at least 12 hours earlier.
The Seattle Times reports that the 73 year-old man’s wife “was awakened around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday by “a breeze coming from the balcony door cracked open” and discovered her husband missing, the Coast Guard said in one of several early-morning tweets about the rescue effort.” It is less than clear if and when the guest’s wife reported her husband missing to the ship’s crew.
This case is another example of a cruise ship where apparently no automatic man overboard system was installed. Such a system would immediately trigger an alarm in the bridge when someone goes over the railings and then track the person in the water through state-of-the-art infrared and radar technology. Without such a system, the ship has to look through CCTV film to see if it sheds light on if and when a passenger or crew member went overboard. The result is a delayed response and a huge search grid to be searched by Coast Guard aircraft and vessels.
According to cruise expert Professor Ross Klein, 314 people have gone overboard since 2000.
Update: Unfortunately, according to KOMO News the passenger was found, unconscious. He was flown to a Port Angeles hospital where he was pronounced dead.
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Photo credits: Top – MarineTraffic; bottom – KOMO.