Over the weekend we heard of the tragedy off the coast of Italy with the Costa Concordia. Two hours into their 7 night cruise, the ship struck a large rock in the sea, and subsequently began sinking. Of the 4100 passengers and crew members, 5 have died and 15 remain missing at this time. Our hearts go out to the friends and families who lost loved ones and are waiting to hear about their loved ones still today.
This sort of occurrence brings many to question the safety of a cruise ship just like a plane crash does as well. Then why does this question happen when we hear of these disasters?
Anything can be considered news. It’s interesting when I travel to watch the local news. Things that make the news in my small town are very different from news in the Wisconsin Capital, Madison, and we are only 20 minutes away. Go to an even bigger city like Los Angeles and New York, you hear completely different things reported as the big news of the day. In my town, whether to put a four way stop sign, traffic signal or roundabout makes front page news! We hear about each accident that happens in our town, because it doesn’t happen often. In Madison, we hear about the big accidents, the ones that shut down the Beltline during rush hour, as well as some of the other ones in town. This doesn’t seem the case in the very large cities.
My point is, if the news reporters announced “breaking news” every time there was a fender bender in a large city, no one would listen to the news anymore, nor would there be any other news! On the surface, just taking the news into account, you would then think that a small town has more accidents than a big city and we know that is not true.
Planes don’t crash often, cruise ships don’t sink often either. Does this mean it can’t happen? Of course not, but the odds are certainly in your favor. We hear about every major plane crash and cruise ship accident, but not the minor ones. Only the sensational ones. While the world may not hear about a two seater plane crash in a remote area of Montana, they certainly will hear about an airliner crashing with hundreds onboard.
I wasn’t able to find statistics on the odds of being on a sinking cruise ship or dying on a cruise ship, but I did find the odds of falling off a cruise ship, which happens more often than the others. The odds of you going overboard in a year are 1 in 2,309,000 according to the Book of Odds (US, 2007 – 2008). This is considering all overboard cases, not just accidental cases. I like those odds!
Enjoy your cruise vacation! It is a great way to travel. But be extra careful driving to the airport!
Cruise ships are still one of the safest forms of travel, I think the public have short memories and will return fairly quickly.
Unfortunately I feel it will not be so easy for the families of the those lost.