A Caribbean cruise was thrown into chaos on Sunday after a female passenger fell from her balcony to her death – and landed on another person below.
The unnamed woman, who some on board said fell at least 10 stories, went over the barrier shortly after the Virgin Voyages ship, Valiant Lady, left Miami at 6pm on Sunday night.
The passenger she landed on was not seriously hurt.
‘Yesterday evening shortly after departure there was a medical emergency involving one of our passengers,’ a Virgin spokesman said.
‘This passenger went over their balcony onto a lower deck, and despite receiving immediate medical attention, has passed away.
‘We are deeply saddened by this loss of life and our hearts and thoughts are with this person’s loved ones.’
An ambulance arrived at the dock in Miami in the early hours of Monday and the woman’s body was removed
The ship was sailing for Roatan, an island in Honduras, and was expected to arrive on Tuesday.
Instead, the ship returned to Miami, docking once more at around 2am on Monday.
The woman’s body was taken away by an ambulance, and the ship resumed sailing.
‘I just started my FIRST cruise with Virgin Voyages… and someone fell from their balcony and died,’ tweeted Mel Murray.
‘On the first day bro – people SAW that s*** happen. That is *terrifying*!!’
Another passenger, Wilson, tweeted at 1:50am on Sunday morning: ‘@VirginVoyages hey what’s going on our Valiant Lady journey?
‘No word or update from the crew as to our itinerary or cause for return to Miami.’
Passengers were then told by the captain what had happened, and that they would no longer go to Roatan.
A second planned stop – scheduled for Wednesday, to the Costa Maya in Mexico – was also switched, due to challenging weather conditions.
The Valiant Lady is currently en route to the Mexican port of Cozumel, where they will dock before heading back via the island of Bimini in the Bahamas.
The ship will return to Miami as scheduled on Saturday morning.
The Valiant Lady is seen returning to Miami in the early hours of Monday morning
Valiant Lady is seen sailing through Europe. She is currently used in the Caribbean
Passengers are being offered credit towards a future cruise, one passenger said they had been told.
Valiant Lady was launched in November, and their six-night cruises start at $1,700 per person.
Its sister ship, Scarlet Lady – the first launched by Virgin Voyages – set sail in 2021.
Jennifer Lopez will spend one day on board Scarlet Lady later this month on a special edition ‘Limitless Voyage’ around the Caribbean, from April 14 to April 19.
The five-night sailing, which will be curated by Lopez and her organization, Limitless Labs, will include J.Lo-inspired experiences and panel sessions with female entrepreneurs.
Fatalities on cruise ships are not uncommon.
On April 1 last year, a British man jumped to his death from Valiant Lady while she was sailing around the Mediterranean.
The cruise was en route back to Portsmouth when the man leapt overboard in the Bay of Biscay, with French and Spanish vessels called to assist the search.
That cruise featured 80s pop icons Tony Hadley, from Spandau Ballet, and T’Pau
In May 2020, a 32-year-old Filippino man working on Scarlet Lady died by suicide.
Between 2009 and 2019, there were 292 serious injuries to passengers or crew members on cruise ships, and 126 minor injuries, according to Cruise Lines International Association.
In February the FBI launched an investigation into what was termed a ‘suspicious death’ of a female passenger on board a Carnival Sunshine cruise ship – although the company said the death appears to be natural.
The woman was found unresponsive during the ship’s February 27 voyage to Nassau, Bahamas, the FBI field office in Columbia, South Carolina, said.
They have refused to provide any detail regarding their investigation.
In November, a 28-year-old man from Alabama survived for 20 hours after falling off the Carnival Valor, bound for Cozumel.
James Grimes told ABC News he did not remember falling off the ship on November 23, but only recalled coming to in the water ‘with no boat in sight’ after excusing himself to the bathroom after having a few drinks.
‘The Lord was with me when I was out there,’ he said.
‘Because something was holding me up the whole time when I was passed out.’
Eventually, Grimes spotted a tanker ship and swam to the vessel, which flagged the U.S. Coast Guard for help.
He said his Gulf of Mexico ordeal brought meaning to his life.
‘I always thought there’s a greater purpose for my life,’ he said.
‘Now, I know for sure I’m meant to do something on this Earth.’