Royal Caribbean cruise horror as man, 20, jumps overboard

A cruise turned into a nightmare for people aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas when a young man jumped overboard shortly after 4 a.m. Thursday.

The 18-story ship was sailing between Cuba and the Bahamas’ Grand Inagua Island when the as-yet-unidentified man jumped off one of the decks.

According to onlookers, his father and brother watched helplessly as he leaped over the side.

Some passengers said it appeared to be an impulsive, spur-of-the-moment decision. 

The 20-year-old jumped from a deck of the Liberty of the Seas — the 35th-largest cruise ship in the world. AP

“I had hung out with him and his brother in the hot tub until 3:30,” passenger Bryan Sims tells The Post. ” It was standing room only. He sat right beside me the whole time.”

“He was pretty drunk,” Sims continues. “As we were walking from the hot tub back to the elevators, his dad and brother were walking towards us. His dad was fussing at him for being drunk, I guess.”

“When we got to them, he said to his dad, ‘I’ll fix this right now.’ And he jumped out the window in front of us all.” 

“There was a lot of yelling, and the crew was alerted immediately,” another passenger,  Deborah Morrison, told The Post. “His family was horrified. Just beside themselves. I can’t even begin to imagine what they’re going through.”

“It was insane,” says Sims. “It was just surreal.” 

In a statement to The Post, Royal Caribbean said its crew immediately sprang into action following the incident.

“The ship’s crew immediately launched a search and rescue effort alongside the US Coast Guard, who has taken over the search,” the statement reads. “Our Care Team is providing support and assistance to the guest’s family during this difficult time. For the privacy of the guest and their family, we have no additional details to share.”

News of the apparent suicide attempt quickly spread among the guests — and many of them tried to help in any way they could.

“The early morning was definitely somber as so many people came out of their cabins to stare at the sea, hoping to be able to aid in finding the person,” said Amy Phelps Fouse, a passenger on the ship.

“Royal Caribbean has been excellent at communicating updates throughout the day,” Fouse continued. “They have asked that people act with compassion in light of the tragic situation.”

Overboard incidents on cruise ships are rare.

According to the Washington Post, about 386 people were reported to have gone overboard on the major cruise lines between 2000 to 2020.

Decks of Liberty of the Seas
The young man’s father and brother watched helplessly as he leaped over the side, onlookers said. AP

The incidents, whether accidental or intentional, are often deadly.

In the past few years, most cruise lines have enacted onboard safety measures and surveillance systems to help reduce the risk of overboard deaths.

The Coast Guard confirmed to The Post it is still conducting a search and rescue operation in the waters off Cuba. The man has not yet been found.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988 or go to

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