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  03.29.11  
 


In memory of Rebecca Coriam who went missing from a Disney Cruise ship last week.


In Memory of Rebecca Coriam
By Paul Motter

There is nothing sadder than losing a loved one, especially when the details behind the loss are vague and mysterious. With sadness, we report that 24-year old Rebecca Coriam went missing from the Disney Wonder last week. She is from Guilden Sutton near Chester, England.

Rebecca was working as a youth activities coordinator aboard Disney Wonder. The ship is currently sailing cruises to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. The last time she was seen onboard was on Monday, a day at sea. When she did not show up for work on Tuesday morning shipboard officials started searching the ship. Most of the search was conducted in the crew area, although announcements were made throughout the ship of a missing persons situation underway.

It has been reported in various newspapers that the cruise line investigators discovered that she made a phone call to someone sometime during Monday night, but it has not been reported whom she called or what was said. That was the last activity by Rebecca of which anyone is aware.

It is common in these situations for investigators to discover evidence that indicates the missing person committed suicide, although that evidence can be somewhat inconclusive, and this is such a case. Very often, the people who jump from cruise ships do not leave a note, and the only reason we can surmise is that the act is rarely fully planned out. Unlike other forms of suicide, jumping from a cruise ship does not require much planning - just the opposite- it is something that can be done in a mere moment of irrational thought.

Our hearts go out to the parents of Rebecca, who flew in from England to meet the ship in Los Angeles and talk to the authorities onboard. In cases where the victim is a U.S. citizen the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation would conduct the inquiries, but in this case the authority in charge is the Bahamian Government who holds the ship's registry. During the search conducted at sea, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Mexican Navy also rendered assistance.

The family received consular assistance from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Her parents have now flown back to the U.K. taking Rebecca's possessions with them. Mrs. Coriam, Rebecca's mother, said on an ABC television interview, "it is just very, very painful and the thought of not seeing her again is just frightening, really."

A few passengers who were on the cruise were interviewed leaving the dock by Sky News. One couple said they were aware of the situation but that it did not seem to disrupt the cruise. Another passenger said he was told by a crewmember that Rebecca's shoes and clothes were found in a manner that seemed to indicate a suicide had taken place, although no further details were given.

For those who do not know - the vast majority of cases of people "disappearing" from cruise ships turn out to be very similar to this case - and nearly all of them are eventually ruled as suicide after investigation.

Disney is a top cruise line with an excellent safety record, although there are people in the world who want to paint all cruise lines in a bad light, even referring to people who commit suicide on cruise ships as "cruise victims." Cruising is still one of the safest forms of travel possible. Unfortunately, it appears that people who are prone to suicidal thoughts often see the ease of jumping from a cruise ship.

What we do not know is if every person who jumps from a cruise ship is aware of the extreme danger of their act. We suspect many of them believe they could be rescued, or that the land they see over the horizon appears closer than it is in reality. Sadly, rescue operations at sea are extremely difficult and very rarely yield positive results when authorities do not have a pinpoint area to search.

You can comment on suicide by cruise ship here: Suicide, Even at Sea, Isn't Painless.


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