I wanted to thank Paul for the nice article in the latest newletter which deals with the unfortunate story of the young man who went overboard on a Carnival Ship.
by Paul Motter
More Cruise Misperceptions
For the life of me, I do not understand why vague and senseless "details" in articles that would not cut mustard with any editor with other forms of travel are considered perfectly acceptable when it comes to cruise ships.
Would you believe a news article like this? "Teenager Falls from Long Island Railroad: Jeremy Jones was on the Long Island Railroad when he fell off the train. He was celebrating his recent high school graduation inside the club car with several friends who say they saw him fall. His parents were also onboard the train as chaperones for the kids. The search for Jeremy is continuing while his parents have made no comments except to ask that their privacy be respected."
Do you see anything missing here, like details, for example? Maybe you are thinking "well, people don't fall from train club cars." Well, people don't fall from cruise ships either. They jump, or they deliberately put themselves in a precarious position outside the fully adequate safety railings and they slip.
Today the mainstream U.S. media is reporting on a teenager "falling" from a cruise ship. He was sailing with 35 friends and his parents and some reports actually say that people saw him "fall." The problem is that the verb "fell" indicates the young man had no personal responsibility for what happened and I can almost guarantee you that is not the case based on years of experience. But not a single report says what really happened.
The majority of articles on this event go on to say, "the search by the Coast Guard is still on for the man whose parents, thanking all of the officials for their diligence in their search efforts, also ask that their privacy be respected."
I suppose I could just accept that this was an unfortunate mistake made by the teenager, either a suicide attempt or horseplay, and respect the privacy of the parents. But that is giving the media tacit approval to blame cruise ships for events for which they actually bear no responsibility. At the very least the media should point out that they are waiting for further details, even better they should describe the teenager as having "gone overboard" instead of having "fallen."
I have been covering cruise ships for a long time and I can guarantee you that 99% of the people reading these articles who have never sailed on a cruise ship will conclude that people just fall from cruise ships all the time. They don't and that is why am I frankly upset about this. If these parents really want their privacy respected then show some respect for the innocent people in this case by not alluding that this was an "accident" somehow due to faulty design of cruise ships.
My husband and I had the same discussion when he told me about the incident. The first thing out of my mouth was "no one falls of a cruise ship."
Whether suicide or tragic accident, maybe the cruise lines should add somehting during the lifeboat/safety drill about safet near railings and balconies. It should be COMMON SENSE, but unfortunately there is not a lot of common sense around.
Personally, i am tired of people saying passnegers "fall" from cruise ships. and I am also tired of people jumping from cruise ships.
I have written a long piece about suicide from ships and I am considering whether i should run it. It seems a little macabre as a subject but I think it needs to be said.
If you need it below is a link to a great web site that lists overboard incidents and if you scroll down has a short synopsis of each incident. It is interesting that overboard incidents mostly fall into two categories, those doing stupid things while under influence of alcohol and unfortunately suicides.