Stuart St Paul at head office here at Doris Visits spent a life time jumping off things for a living, and he has had to jump off many ships. He now spends most of his time at sea talking about the many years of stunts, directing action and the movies he directed. Those who have met him on board ship talking about his years as a stunt man, broadcaster and movie director will know. So to fall over a railing on any ship is not easy which, is why we have not reported any of the news of the British woman and her 10 hours in the Adriatic sea after leaving the Norwegian Star by unconventional means.

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Form a stunt point of view there is a huge difference between a fall and a jump. Some of my fellow stunt and action mates who also do this for a living may chip in here. A fall is a drop, it is accidental, and you tumble down – not necessarily in control. This normally involves hitting things on the way down when injuries would occur, not least whiplash if your body hits something and is momentarily stopped but you head is still moving. Looking at the back of the Norwegian Star I would worry about the fact it has a rear which slopes out meaning on a dead fall there is every chance I, or any performer would hit it. The rear of the ship and the problem is shown perfectly on this film. 

The ship has propelled forward momentum, and while standing on it you do too, but when you leave it you begin to loose that momentum. That is the only saving grace, that the ship will be going away from you. However, not enough to clear it in my opinion, because there will be a air draft rushing down the sides and coming into the back to fill the void, this may have the effect of drawing you back into the ship. We would run tests, I am not suggesting you drop things into the sea.

Height helps in these circumstances, because you have more chance to fall away from the ship, but seeing the taped off areas that news suggest are under investigation, it looks like it may have happened on a lower deck.
Many of my colleagues worked on the Titanic, now an old movie. One the industry nicknamed the Love Boat because it had so many romances that developed through treading water night after night in Mexico. When that mechanical ship turned on its end, those sliding down the decks were in controlled slides, from known A to known B. The falls from the ship into the sea were clear falls into known clear water. The falls where bodies hit things on the way down are either dummies or CGI not humans. No falling stunt man would risk hitting something as solid as a ship on the way down. None of us want to break things. That means being off work.

So a jump would take you clear of the back, a fall is likely to hit things on the way down. If I had to recreate an actual fall, I would want the stunt performer buoyant so he or she cannot sink and a boat in their fast to get them. But, can a performer actually fall unless it is an accident – that is hard. When performers start training, they have normally been world class gymnasts or the like, and they will all naturally spring off or push out. The ability to dead fall takes much training because your brain has a survival instinct which you have to be mood and control overcome.

On all ships, platforms, anything at height there is a regulation safety rail at least. Going over a rail is hard. If you have seen my film or talk on the injury sustained on the movie American Werewolf In Paris, it tells you how hard it is to go over a rail deliberately.

She is a fit 46-year-old ex Virgin Atlantic air hostess, who regularly does yoga to keep calm, but many news reports are now suggesting it might not have been a fall, which was my diagnosis of it looking at her injuries and the ship, but I was not there. She may just have been lucky. But, imagine how much cost and trouble you might be in if you were to jump? A medical call out is just a chopper and the ship slowing down. This sounds like a lot more. The cruise ship had circled back around, the Croatian coastguard joined the search. There will be an insurance investigation as well as an accident investigation, and possibly the local prosecutor will open a file. Recently a British woman was given a bill $50,000 for an airlift off a ship. I doubt it is something I will be able to discuss on board, but I can discuss the film American Werewolf..Find your ship’s chat site + share your pictures + experiences to help others  

An Australian news service reports The Sun reports that her partner was questioned in Venice, they report an official as saying. 

“We have seen the footage and we are happy there was no foul play involved. The partner was released and no one has been placed under official investigation.

“The footage has been viewed and you can clearly see she was there on her own when she fell. She was not pushed. The theory we are working on is that she most likely jumped.

“A file is being prepared for the local prosecutor who will decide what to do but at the moment it looks like an individual lone action.

“The boyfriend said they had been drinking and they had quarrelled. He went back to his cabin and left her.

“The next thing he knew he was woken by the crew to say they thought she was missing as they had found her bag and belongings.”

I am next on the Ventura N826, then the Queen Victoria V833, then the Aurora R824. Come down and see the show in the main theatre.

However the Norwegian Star is a great ship and there is certainly no reason to jump off the ship, nor would it be easy to fall off. We understand that he woman was found by looking back at surveillance videos and working out where she left the ship. Our Norwegian Ships fleet page is here, the Norwegian Star is a Dawn Class ship and she was in the Adriatic. One of the best cruise routes. 

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