Although cruises are generally regarded as the safest form of travel, things can occasionally go awry, but passengers are rarely in any real danger. Every once in a while, however, a news story appears about someone who became lost at sea while aboard a cruise — either by tumbling overboard or under more mysterious circumstances. In fact, the total number of these incidents is actually quite startling. From 2000 to 2013, more than 200 passengers vanished without a trace while cruising. Another site claims 274 have fallen off ships from 2006 to 2016. If it’s any consolation to those worried about accidents onboard, not all of these were actually accidents, hardly any of these incidents were the fault of the cruise lines, and not all those who fell overboard were lost forever.
In fact, at least a dozen people have been successfully plucked from the water in the last 24 years — including one who was rescued after an unimaginable 17 hours. The number is likely much higher, but the media doesn’t always hear each and every story. Many of the incidents are relatively minor (or at least as minor as falling off a giant ship can be), but we compiled a few of the noteworthy ones for this article. Here are 11 people who fell off cruise ships and lived to talk about it.