- The Coast Guard is searching for a man believed to have gone overboard a cruise ship this week.
- The Quantum of the Seas stayed on the scene for two hours searching before having to refuel.
- Insider previously reported that man overboard incidents are relatively rare.
The US Coast Guard is still searching for an Australian passenger believed to have gone overboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship hundreds of miles from Hawaii on Tuesday night.
In a Wednesday statement, the Coast Guard said crews were looking for the man about 500 miles south of Kailua Kona, Big Island. Officials first received a call from the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship about a man overboard at 11:03 p.m. on Tuesday.
As of Thursday afternoon, he had been missing for more than 36 hours.
The cruise ship stayed on the scene to look for the man for about two hours, deploying six life rings during the search, before it had to resume its journey to refuel, according to the Coast Guard statement.
The search for the overboard man resumed Wednesday morning as a Coast Guard helicopter conducted a six-hour aerial search in the area, but failed to locate the missing man.
Officials continued their search on Thursday.
Royal Caribbean did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment but confirmed in a statement to Nine News that a passenger on board the Quantum of the Seas was missing.
The ship departed from Brisbane, Australia, on April 12 and is scheduled to dock at its final port stop in Honolulu on Friday.
Another passenger on board the ship told Nine News that she was in bed when she heard an alert call over the cruise ship’s PA system. Other cruise goers described a “somber” mood on board as the ship sailed on, according to the outlet.
As Insider reported last year, overboard incidents remain a rarity on cruise ships, and the statistical chances of ending up in the water are slim — they just tend to make headline-grabbing news when they do occur.
“The vast majority of cases are either reckless behavior or some form of intentional act, Brian Salerno, the senior vice president for Maritime policy at Cruise Lines International Association, also known as CLIA, told The New York Times last year. “People don’t just inadvertently fall over the side of a ship.”
It is still unclear how the man fell overboard this week.
In 2019, the most recent year of pre-COVID data, 25 people went overboard according to a 2020 CLIA report, including both passengers and crew members. Compared to the more than 13.7 million passengers who boarded a cruise in the US alone that same year, the likelihood of going overboard clocks in at less than 0.000001%.