Another teenager over the side on a cruise ship

shamrock
25th May 2009, 19:27
This is too common thesedays...

Teenager falls overboard from cruise ship originating in New Orleans (http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2009/05/teenager_falls_overboard_from.html)

In 2007 a lad went over the side of Carnival Ecstacy off Cozumel. He was 18 years old and at the time many thought he was just another teenager acting out with too much drink in his system.

Within 24 hours we all knew that this young man had terrible demons that he could no longer deal with. He was subjected to an horrific racially motivated attack near his home in Texas several months before the cruise. He had over 30 operations to repair the damage done internally and he suffered substantial mental damage too. Those who attacked him were caught and sent to prison for a very long time, average of 99 years a piece.

He went to therapy, he went back to school and to college. On the outside he was a normal teenager but what nobody realised was that inside he was slowly destroying himself. A schoolfriend and his family asked to take the young lad on a cruise, just so he could relax away from the court case and be a young man again. Everyone including the young man agreed and off they went.

The first night all seemed fine. The next morning David was not in his cabin and initially the others thought he had gone for breakfast. Then the horror set in. David was up on the foremast, he had been there for around 90 minutes by the time his schoolfriend reached him. Crewmembers and his friends tried to talk him down for over two hours but to no avail.

David Ritcheson stood up, looked down at his friends and dived from the mast into the sea some 200ft below. He died instantly. His body was recovered by the ship's crew and his family flown out to Cozumel to meet the ship and they all went home.

David's death shook everyone right across the cruise industry and discussion boards like the one I was so deeply involved with. Up until his death there had been an average of 4-5 teens and adults that jumped or fell off cruise ships a week. Since David died, that number has been cut drastically but they do still happen, too often.

Cruise lines have installed CCTV all over the inside and outside of the ships to try and stop this from happening, but sometimes..as in David Ritcheson's case..no amount of security or safety measure will ever stop those determined enough.

paisleymerchant
25th May 2009, 19:37
Sad case but what you say is true especially on a ship not all areas can be covered by cctv.

shamrock
25th May 2009, 19:42
The latest one is 18 years old, celebrating graduation and went missing last night. I doubt he will be found and his family may never be able to lay him to rest properly. Such a waste.

shamrock
25th May 2009, 19:50
David Ritcheson's story was in the Houston Chronicle, it is no longer accessible online. A Dallas newspaper covered the lad's funeral, the article is incredibly sad and shocking...

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/localnews/columnists/jfloyd/stories/DN-floyd_10met.ART.State.Edition1.434e4c9.html

The thing that still gets me is that on the same weekend that David died, another lad on another ship decided it would be good fun to dance on the top of a tender, he fell into the sea and was picked up by the crew alive...but totally out of his tree with booze.

When you read stories like David's, I don't know about the rest of you, but I get angry about those who think that mucking about in a blatently dangerous way on a cruise ship is fun. It is such an utter waste of life and in David's case, such an utter tragedy.

Pompeyfan
25th May 2009, 21:58
10 passenger or crew have gone overboard so far this year alone to date. 5 from Carnival, 1 P&O Australia, 1 RCI, and 3 other according to Cruise Junkie.

One woman went overboard a couple of years ago on Oceana when I was on board from a balcony. She fell overboard in Southampton Water early morning on our way home, so not drink related. She was picked up, but had died from the force of the fall from so high up, hitting the sea with such force it was like hitting concrete. We will never know if she jumped or was pushed. My son and I had a balcony on the same deck, and could not see how she could have gone over by accident unless she stood on a chair for a better view, or sat on the handrail. We are both quite tall and the handrail of our balcony came up to our chest.

Crew and passengers have gone over the wall for many years. That is the phrase seafarers use. Some are suicidal for many reasons including suffering torment like the poor young man above, others are murder, and some are accidental due to stupidity or drink or both.

From the chart I have seen, Carnival are the worst, 35 in 9 years, Celebrity 17, and RCI 9. It could be down to the new kind of passenger, not understanding how dangerous it is to climb onto the handrails when a ship is moving?.

Accidents at sea sides are common place due to those not understanding the force of the sea, handling small craft, cut off by tides. Only yesterday, a parent just managed to stop his child being swept out to sea on a Lilo. This is very common practice every summer, and has been the cause of many drownings.

Therefore, falling overboard from cruise ships and ferries could be due to not being familiar with ships in some cases, but certainly not all because falling overboard has been going on for many years for various reasons.

It is terrible that others teenagers or otherwise could be brought up to be so cruel to others by subjecting them to such torture. It is no wonder that lad was so emotionally affected, and of course being at sea is one opportunity of ending it all. I have looked after many crew in my Crew & Isolation Hospital who wanted to do jump overboard due to depression of being away from home for so long, an upsetting letter from home, being bullied on board, or other reasons.

Life at sea unfortunately is no different to shore side, awful things happen for a variety of reasons. It is the same with bouts of gastroenteritis. You are far more likely to be affected shore side than at sea, but if a cruise ship is affected, it is headline news.

David

shamrock
25th May 2009, 22:03
I am in almost daily contact with Ross Klein (cruisejunkie), we have been in touch for a few years now and we feed information to each other too. Some of the stories we read are truly tragic others totally stupid.

Carnival ships do tend to have the younger crowd on them, especially spring breakers and graduation parties...such as the Fantasy jumper last night.

Since CCL (Carnival Group) took over P&O, Princess, HAL, Costa, Cunard & Seabourn there has been an increase of overboards on the mainstream lines, not so much on Cunard or Seabourn. Whether it is related to the change of ownership is much in debate but since so many go off the parent company's own ships, it could well be linked.

RCCL ships..Azamara, RCI & Celebrity don't have too many overboards, or at least they don't tend to make the media so much.

Pompeyfan
25th May 2009, 22:41
I am in almost daily contact with Ross Klein (cruisejunkie), we have been in touch for a few years now and we feed information to each other too. Some of the stories we read are truly tragic others totally stupid.

Carnival ships do tend to have the younger crowd on them, especially spring breakers and graduation parties...such as the Fantasy jumper last night.

Since CCL (Carnival Group) took over P&O, Princess, HAL, Costa, Cunard & Seabourn there has been an increase of overboards on the mainstream lines, not so much on Cunard or Seabourn. Whether it is related to the change of ownership is much in debate but since so many go off the parent company's own ships, it could well be linked.

RCCL ships..Azamara, RCI & Celebrity don't have too many overboards, or at least they don't tend to make the media so much.


If Carnival has younger passengers it would certainly explain why more go overboard, not realising how dangerous it is. A bit like playing football on a motorway, expecting not to get hit. (EEK)

And of course there are far more cruise ships today, more first timers, so the accident rate or non accidental is bound to be higher. Far more people are cruising now than ever before. But it is still a safe way to travel, and still way down the league table compared with identical incidents shore side of all age groups.

Even back in the 70s, whether 'line voyages' or cruising, something happened on every trip from somebody going over the wall, a death, dose of the trots, fights, people getting drunk, the lot, so little has changed. The only difference now is more cruise ships, and more affordable making the figures higher. Apart from that, I see nothing different today, than when I was at sea back in the 70s.

David

GRAHAM D
25th May 2009, 23:37
David
I feel part of the problem with young people on holiday is they get things out of all proportion. A "big love job" starts and ends and they think the end of the world has come. I remember one 12-04 on the bridge of the old Oriana getting called to a disturbance in one of the bars. A young girl had fallen out with her boyfriend, and she wanted to end it all, when I got down to the bar, she made a run towards the ships rail, to jump overboard. An Ausie Policeman, who was onboard to help with security, rugby tackled her and we took her off to the hospital.
I find in my present job, we are inundated with young people like this, walking into the sea or jumping off bridges, who'd be a teenager again?
Shipboard life provides lots of opportunity for someone wishing to self harm.
Graham

Pompeyfan
25th May 2009, 23:59
David
I feel part of the problem with young people on holiday is they get things out of all proportion. A "big love job" starts and ends and they think the end of the world has come. I remember one 12-04 on the bridge of the old Oriana getting called to a disturbance in one of the bars. A young girl had fallen out with her boyfriend, and she wanted to end it all, when I got down to the bar, she made a run towards the ships rail, to jump overboard. An Ausie Policeman, who was onboard to help with security, rugby tackled her and we took her off to the hospital.
I find in my present job, we are inundated with young people like this, walking into the sea or jumping off bridges, who'd be a teenager again?
Shipboard life provides lots of opportunity for someone wishing to self harm.
Graham

Exactly what I have been saying Graham. I did not see so much in teenage passengers during my era other than those emigrating with parents because I left P&O in 1975, when cruising for younger people was not like it is today. But there was plenty of trouble with teenage crew as well as older crew.

Shore side was the same. In my job, I saw far too many young people drowned for being stupid or wishing self harm due to bullying or whatever. I have as you may know been concerned about seaside deaths for years. It now seems that some of these teenagers is going on cruises.

David

shamrock
26th May 2009, 07:48
Another facet to the going over the side is, of course, the perfect murder.

One such case was only a couple of years ago, a newly married couple on their honeymoon aboard Royal Caribbean's Brilliance o/t Seas in the Med. The ship was off Turkey, both had been drinking shots and had a skinfull.

The wife - Jennifer Hagen-Smith was found outside one of the crew only access doors out of her tree. The husband - George - well he was never found, all that was discovered was a large bloodstain on the canopy below their cabin balcony.

She was on the other side of the ship, semi passed out, other passengers had helped him to his cabin drunk.

The Turkish authorities, the FBI were all involved, lawsuits flew all over the place yet to this day no-one knows exactly what went on that night.

An account of the night's events can be found here...

http://www.internationalcruisevictims.org/LatestMemberStories/George_Allen_Smith_IV_Spouse_Story.html

The courts are about to release all the statements on this case, maybe they will shed light on what happened, maybe they won't. One thing is for certain, pushing someone off a ship underway is the perfect murder cos afterall, if anyone hears a splash at night who is going to be concerned.....you're at sea, aren't you?

Pompeyfan
26th May 2009, 11:05
Yes, being thrown over the side of a ship could be the perfect murder, something discussed on this site before. It can cover up many things, and mean that relatives back home never have total closure.

David

vitalspark
2nd June 2009, 17:18
Perhaps someone knows more about this than me, but I believe that the Clyde Estuary's steamers, since the early 1800's, have carried thousands upon thousands of holidaymakers, weekenders, business men, teenagers, children, Sunday drinkers, jilted lovers and all, yet the incidence of people overboard has been negligible.

Any comments?

Best wishes,
Dave Kennedy

shamrock
17th July 2009, 15:25
This is very sad...

Hong Kong - A Hong Kong mother and son have disappeared while travelling on a luxury cruise between Beijing and Japan, police said Thursday. The pair were reported missing July 7, the fourth day of the trip, after they failed to join other members of their tour group.

A source quoted in the Hong Kong Standard newspaper said three letters were found in their cabin on board the Costa Classica outlining how their assets should be distributed in the event of their deaths.

Investigators also found several plates of fruit indicating the pair might have conducted a ceremony.

Hong Kong police are treating the disappearances as a missing persons case.

The cruise company, Costa Crociere, said it had reported the pair's disappearance to police in South Korea, China and Japan.

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/277676,hong-kong-mother-and-son-disappear-on-luxury-cruise.html