Real-life disappearances: These cases sound like an episode of ‘High Seas’
People have primal fears within them: the dark, the vast emptiness of space, the sea. The endless vastness of the ocean is enough to make anyone shiver a bit. Over the years, people have side-eyed cruises.
Let’s be real with the coronavirus, it may be a bit before business picks up in that area again. On the Netflix series, High Seas we see the glamour of those yesteryear cruises with a dash of mystery as well.
There are many fascinating and terrifying disappearances over the years that have taken place on open water. While High Seas takes place a bit more in the past, we’re focusing on more recent-ish disappearances that have a lot more questions than answers surrounding them. Knowing the depths of the ocean, we may never get a true resolution for these disappearances.
In 1998, Amy Lynn Bradley was on a cruise with her family. One morning, her father woke to find Bradley asleep on their balcony. Not wanting to wake her, he left her to her slumber. Half an hour later, he came back to check on her. Only she wasn’t there. Amy Lynn Bradley would never be heard from again.
The family, fearing that Amy Lynn had been kidnapped, reported it to the ship’s authorities and begged for the ship not to dock until a search had been done. The Caribbean cruise ship staff, however, refused their request and made port. They wouldn’t even make a ship-wide announcement until that time as well.
The Bradley family believes that the cruise ship staff was involved with Amy Lynn’s disappearance. They believe that she was smuggled off-board the ship and sold into sexual slavery. A theory which does hold some water. People have reported seeing a woman at brothels over the years that either looked like or claimed to be Amy Lynn Bradley.
Bradley’s whereabouts, however, remain unknown.
In 2011, Rebecca Coriam was working aboard the Disney cruise ship Wonder when she vanished. Coriam was last seen on CCTV footage in a crew lounge, talking on an internal phone line and acting visibly distressed. She hung the phone and was never seen again. Coriam would fail to report for her ship, the cruise contacted the US Coast Guard and Mexican Navy to perform a search. Nothing.
As the cruise ship was registered in the Bahamas, they were in charge of the investigation. One police officer was flown to investigate, which only lasted a day. He interviewed six of the 950 employees and none of the passengers. The Coriam family also maintains that Disney cruise broke procedure in the search for the ocean for Rebecca.
Disney maintains that Rebecca was swept off the crew deck (Deck 5) by a rogue wave. Or, that is the only explanation they gave in the matter. A sandal was found on the deck, but it wasn’t Rebecca’s or so her family says. They believe Disney is covering up something to do with Rebecca Coriam’s disappearance.
A crew member would tell journalist Jon Ronson of The Guardian, “Disney knows exactly what happened . . . That phone call she had? It was taped. Everything here is taped. There’s CCTV everywhere. Disney have the tape.”
Rebecca Coriam remains missing.
Tom & Eileen Lonergan
Alright, let’s stop talking about cruises for a moment. Let’s talk about scuba diving. Tom and Eileen Lonergan were a married couple from Louisiana who went to Australia to go scuba diving. While at a dive of St. Crispin’s reef, the boat left them behind. Now, this isn’t necessarily a death sentence, but the amount of time it took the crew to realize that two people were missing was what killed the Lonergans.
Two days had passed before anyone realized that the couple was missing. It launched a massive search that included the Australian navy and civilian vessels. Eventually, some of the Lonergans dive equipment wash ashore with a dive slate. The following was written on it. “To anyone who can help us: We have been abandoned on Agin court reef Reef 25 Jan 1998 03pm. Please help us come to rescue us before we die. Help!!!”
The bodies of Tom and Eileen Lonergan have never been recovered. Some good did come out of this. Australia, in the wake of the tragedy, passed stricter government regulations in regard to scuba diving trips such as headcount confirmations and identification markers.
George Allen Smith IV
George Smith was on his honeymoon, a two week cruise on the Mediterranean Sea, when he disappeared in 2005. It’s unknown what happened, though police suspect homicide. Blood was found in both Smith’s cabin and on the side of the ship. This leads authorities to believe that Smith’s body was either tossed off the ship or he was left to drown. The prevailing theory was a robbery gone wrong.
Smith’s wife, Jennifer Hagel Smith, has been criticized by Smith’s family. She contends, however, that her new husband was drunk and fell overboard instead of any foul play. She would receive $1.1 million from Royal Caribbean cruises, but Smith’s family would challenge the terms of the settlement.
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