A Cruise Passenger Falls Overboard

It’s not easy to fall off a cruise ship, and most passengers who go overboard do it deliberately. They jump.

This does not appear to be the case with Mindy Jordan, who went overboard from the Norwegian Dawn on Sunday and was lost at sea off the coast of New Jersey. The cruise line says Jordan fell while trying to climb between balconies .

It’s not at all clear why Jordan was doing something so dangerous, and the FBI is investigating whether any crime was committed. Jordan’s family says she was in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend, her companion on the ship. Norwegian says its security video shows she was alone when she fell.

What is clear is that a passenger must make an extraordinary effort to fall off a cruise ship. The railings are just too high to fall over accidentally. I can think of only one other case where it’s known to have happened, and it involved two people in an extremely unwise and amorous position on a balcony. (They were rescued.)

There are a few other cases where a passenger’s disappearance is a complete mystery. But in most cases, drunk and/or suicidal passengers deliberately climb the railings and jump into the ocean.

Yet those cases are almost invariably described as “a passenger fell overboard” in the news. I guess it’s fair to say that after you jump, you fall. But using that language leaves the impression of an accident that, in most cases, never occurred.



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