Reality Check Suicide By Jumping Overboard Just Theatrical Romance Fiction

As we prepare to kick off the summer cruising season with Memorial Weekend,  since 2015, we have declared May as Cruise Ship Deaths Awareness Month. This is the month which celebrates both Mother’s Day and Memorial Day.

Cruise Ship Death Statistics

  • From 1993 through today, there have been 129 individual overboard deaths documented on our website.
  • More than 70 of the cases on  our Cruise Ship Deaths website are proven suicides by hanging or jumping overboard.
  • In the month of May from 2003 through 2016, we have documented  44 deaths, 13 of them were overboard deaths.

Jumping overboard is not as portrayed in Hollywood, a clumsy comedy as in the movie Overboard with  Goldie Hawn who plays Joanna, nor a romantic gesture as with the movie Titanic, where Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) commits suicide overboard allowing Rose to survive by clinging onto a floating wooden panel with only room for one person.

The percentage of people who survive after jumping overboard is very rare. On April 13, 2009, Kasturi Nithyanda Shetty jumped in to save her husband, after he  jumped overboard in a fit of rage. She survived, he didn’t.

Flora Stuardo was a miracle story of a woman who tried to commit suicide overboard. She later alleged her boyfriend tried to kill her, then retracted the claim.

On Sunday July 18, 2015 around 23:30 hours, Costa Cruises Costa Fortuna reported Flora Stuardo, 53, a banker from Turin, Italy went overboard from the cabin balcony where she and her boyfriend Giovanni Piawere were passengers. Costa Fortuna was in Flam, Norway on a nine-day Northern Europe cruise.

Costa Fortuna CCTV shows Stuardo hanging onto the railing, before dropping 100 feet into the cold sea. Flora Stuardo was in the sea for several moments before she was rescued by the Port Authority who brought her ashore. The rescue team found her unconscious, in critical condition.  She was in a coma for six weeks.

I won’t candy-coat the reality. After jumping overboard, an immediate, painless death is in no way guaranteed.  At minimum, it is painful with suffering from injury and drowning, if not eaten alive by a shark. Not only that, imagine for a moment the terror of being sucked into the cruise ship propellers after being pulled under the surface of the ocean. The video below documents the terror of  being sucking into a cruise ship propeller.

Video: Man vs. Propeller – This video description says, “I shot this back in 1991 under the M/S Seaward which was tied to the pier in Cozumel. We had run aground a couple of weeks earlier in Miami so we thought we’d investigate the damage. We choose to do it in Cozumel because of the ease at which we could swim to the ship and we made the assumption that if the ship was tied up, the bridge wouldn’t turn on the props.  We were wrong.”