WTF 18 People Who Fell Off the Sides of Cruise Ships  

Katherine Ripley
72.5k views 18 items

A cruise is supposed to be a time to relax and have fun, but for the people on this list, a fun time quickly turned into a horrifying one. All of these people fell off cruise ships, one way or another (many accounts are shaky or light on the details). Some of them survived; some didn't. Some were never found.

Falling off a cruise ship is a terrifying experience because you can fall as many as 100 feet into the water. If you survive the fall, you have to hope that someone realizes you're gone right away and tells the ship to come back for you. If it happens at night, you'll be waiting to be rescued while it's pitch black – if you get rescued at all.

These cruise ship stories – as well as tales of people who disappeared from cruise ships without a trace –might make you think twice about going on a cruise for your next spring break.

Kay Longstaff, Norwegian Star,... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 18 People Who Fell Off the Sides of Cruise Ships
Photo:  Rainer Nicolai/flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Kay Longstaff, Norwegian Star, 2018 

On August 19, 2018, a British woman fell off a cruise ship in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. She treaded water for 10 hours before rescuers were able to pull her out of the water. The ship was 60 miles off the coast of Croatia and was heading to Venice, Italy. 

Fortunately, the woman, who was later identified as 46-year-old Kay Longstaff, has been practicing yoga for a long time. One of the rescuers believed this "helped her as she was fit." Longstaff also sang to prevent herself from falling asleep. 

"I fell off the back of the Norweigian Star and I was in the water for 10 hours, so these wonderful guys rescued me," she told HRT, a Croatian TV network.

It is unclear how she fell off the ship.

Samantha Broberg, Carnival Lib... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 18 People Who Fell Off the Sides of Cruise Ships
Photo: Chargarther/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Samantha Broberg, Carnival Liberty, 2016

The Coast Guard called off the search for 33-year-old Samantha Broberg after teams looked for her for 20 hours and covered 4,300 square miles of ocean in the Gulf of Mexico. Broberg had fallen overboard from a Carnival Liberty cruise ship at 2 am while the ship was more than 200 miles from Galveston, Texas. Broberg was just 10 hours into a four-day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, when she fell into the open ocean.

Lynsey O'Brien, Costa Crui... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 18 People Who Fell Off the Sides of Cruise Ships
Photo: Abxbay/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Lynsey O'Brien, Costa Cruises, 2006

Lynsey O'Brien, 15, went missing while on a Costa Cruises Costa Magica cruise in January of 2006. She had gone on the cruise with her parents and siblings. 

O'Brien wound up drinking in one of the ship's bars. Her older sister spotted her and took her back to her cabin. There, her parents gave her water and told her they'd talk in the morning. Yet in the middle of the night, O'Brien's younger sister ran out of her cabin screaming, stating that O'Brien that gone outside to vomit and fell overboard. Rescue efforts were unsuccessful. 

O'Brien's family would blame the cruise line. For one, they said the efforts to stop and search for their daughter were handled poorly. Kurt Byrd, an Ohio police officer who commanded an underwater search and rescue unit, had been staying on the floor above and told ABC News that he agreed. But more significantly, they later learned that the bartender who served O'Brien had allowed her to consume about 10 drinks in an hour and a half. That bartender was later fired. 

Sarah Kirby, Carnival, 2012 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 18 People Who Fell Off the Sides of Cruise Ships
Photo:  Raging Wire/via Flickr

Sarah Kirby, Carnival, 2012

Sarah Kirby, 31, was on a cruise in the Caribbean when she became extremely intoxicated and went out onto her balcony to get some fresh air. She lost her grip on the banister of the balcony and fell. She was rescued after about two hours in the water. She suffered from hypothermia and several broken bones. Kirby filed a lawsuit against Carnival cruises, alleging that a bartender encouraged her to get extremely drunk and that the ship's crew delayed her rescue.