Editor’s Note: Natasha is from beautiful Australia, which is also known for it’s sordid true crime history from the backpacker murders that inspired Wolf Creek, to the Snowtown Murders. I originally called Natasha meaning to asked for her to tell me other famous Australian crimes when we realized she was involved in a mystery on her last holiday.
Interviewer: So tell me about your holiday.
Natasha: So in 2013 in May, we went on a cruise to the South Pacific. We were taking my parents for my dad’s 70th birthday and we went to Vanuatu and we went to New Caledonia. And it was 9, no sorry, it was an 11-night cruise and it was with Carnival so, they just started in Australia then, so I know it’s a big American company.
Interviewer: Yea, I’ve gone with them to Mexico twice. It’s fun, 3-day little
Natasha: And it’s such a big — I know that you lived in Sydney, and it’s such a big ship that it wouldn’t fit under the Harbor bridge.
Interviewer: Oh wow.
Natasha: Yeah, so it’s probably not as big as the ones in — off the coast of Florida, but it’s so big that it wasn’t out of the normal places that you get the ships in Sydney. It had to be out of Circular Quay.
Natasha: You know near the Opera House. So started out of that side and had to go out of the port that way. So we went on the cruise and everything was fine and then we get back in and we’re at the doctor because my son had an ear infection on the cruise, and we come home and my friends are all texting me and ringing me and like, are you okay, is everything okay. I’m like what are you talking about? People went overboard. Were you on that ship that the people went missing? What are you talking about? Nobody went missing. They said yes, two people went missing on the Carnival ship. Oh, well we were on the only Carnival ship that is in Australia so yes it was our ship. Turns out that this couple went overboard on the last night and it was about 9 o’clock at night and everything’s pitch black, and I mean you’ve been on a cruise. So when you’re out at sea, everything is black. You look out on your balcony and you see nothing yeah.
So as it turns out, she was traveling with her family, her parents had the room next door to her. And we were on the same deck as they were, which was the 5th deck and we had a balcony room and she was climbing over, I don’t know why. I don’t know why.
Interviewer: People drinking, who knows.
Natasha: I don’t know because there’s not a lot of information about what actually happened after. People — some people say that she’d been drinking, some people say that she was fine so, because there’s a video of them arguing in the casino but then other people say they were fine, they made up. So it’s a bit sketchy the information about what actually happened in the state of their relationship. So apparently she was climbing over the railing and I think she slipped, or she was climbing and there is speculation she may have been trying to commit suicide. Who knows? I don’t actually know, nobody really knows and that wasn’t really released why she did it. But he was in the room, saw her go over and apparently twenty seconds later the CCTV shows him panic-stricken and running and jumping over to save her. He was a Paramedic so I’m not sure what he — I guess his instincts kicked in to try to — I don’t know. Usually, in — usually in sort of crazy situations, I’m a clear thinker and I think I would have picked up the phone and said stop the boat. But he is maybe one of these people who’re like — I’m just going to jump over and save her. That would have been crazy falls?
Interviewer: Or just jumping into the abyss, like we said like you said how dark it is I mean to — and maybe shock just took over and he just went like to save and didn’t think because I mean — for me, I would be like, the abyss.
Natasha: Yes. He would be lucky to find her first off. It’s pitch black, it’s freezing cold,
Interviewer: And you probably break your back on impact as well.
Natasha: Because we went that low down, we were mid-deck, so yeah. Yes, so they never found their bodies.
Interviewer: But they never like mentioned it on the entire cruise while you were there? Or at the last night?
Natasha: Yeah so everybody is either at dinner, watching the shows, packing their bags. The last night nobody is standing on their balconies looking out at nothing. Everyone’s busy on the last night. Any other night people would have been looking out but that last night, no one’s really doing that. Yeah.
Interviewer: So has there been an inquest or anything?
Natasha: Oh there was. And the cruise ship’s balconies are quite high, apparently, they’re higher than standard. So it’s not like you can just sort of lean back and ‘oh shit I fell over’, you don’t
Interviewer:You have to boost yourself somehow.
Natasha: You have to, yeah. You don’t accidently lean over and fall. It’s intentional, yeah. Yeah I know and nobody it — what got me was that they travelled as a group and nobody noticed until — you know you’ve got your sail and sign card that you wear,, that’s your key, that’s your check in and out of the boat when you’re going on you tender boat and when you’re getting on the ship at all your ports. That’s what gets you on and off the boat. That’s like your identification, that’s what you use to pay for everything as well, all your drinks. So everything else that costs extra. Nobody noticed until they didn’t check out off the ship, that they were missing. So everybody had got off the ship when we docked back in Sydney the next morning and the cruise ended, and they weren’t accounted for. So it’s kind of — you know what I mean and they must be travelling with family. And like we were travelling as a group with my parents so it’s like, we met for breakfast every day, we had meals together, it’s like it was strange that, you know. I don’t know I guess people do things differently but, you know, it’s your last — like you’re traveling together, it’s the last night. You make a meeting point because we’re getting off the ship together and we’re traveling together.
Interviewer:Especially if you’re with a large group, you want to make sure everyone’s good. You touch base and then you leave. Is this the cruise that you posted some photos where you found some of the people to background?
Natasha: That’s them. So then I went through all my photos and I found a picture of them in the background of my photo as well. Yeah it was kind of eerie because the photo where they were sitting was where we were sitting when they were missing. If that makes sense.
Interviewer:Yeah I get that.
Natasha: When they went missing, we were having dinner at the time, because we had like dinners and we were having dinner at the time that they went overboard and we were sitting at the spot where they were. Yeah.
Interviewer:Life is mysterious. This is so weird. Well I was asking for the other true crime story but you were in the middle of kind of your own.
Natasha: Yeah, I know, I know.
Interviewer:Vacation and you didn’t even know it.
Natasha: Yeah, and we could have you know — we got our flight home to Melbourne and didn’t know a thing about it and it was all sort of happening and we were oblivious and apparently, it wasn’t saying as it happened by the people who monitored the CCTV because that many monitors that you know — and it wasn’t really a time where things happen and it’s dark and you know. I guess it was just missed.
Interviewer:Geez. It’s a lot of people, that’s a lot of — yeah I’ve heard of — there was one story, I think it was Dateline a while ago it was a couple in Europe though. I guess the woman went overboard. If I could find that one, it was a simple similar it was like a couple, there was an argument and then someone went overboard. Yeah, so don’t go on your cruise with your spouse and argue I guess.
Natasha:Well I went on a bit of a dive after this, rating everything to do with it and then it brought up all the other stories. And there is stories of suicide, there are stories of people who actually survived and that they went back and got them. Yeah, yeah there’s stories of people being completely blind drunk that that’s what made them survive because they were just so out of it that they didn’t comprehend the gravity of the situation.
Interviewer:That’s what they say about drunk drivers like usually they survive because they’re their body is loose, they don’t — they don’t tense up upon like impact so they do less damage than people who are sober and realize what is about to happen.
Natasha: Probably the case. Yeah, yeah. Yeah but you’d be surprised how many people if you look at the statistics, how many people do go overboard and most of them are intentional. Yeah.
Interviewer:I’ve never been a big fan of boats. I went on a few, I’ve been on two cruises, but you like, I’ve been on a Carnival cruise and you’re right like those balconies are pretty — they’re not — they hit like about just like below the bus, I guess it depends on how tall you are. But I’m like 5’6 and they don’t hit you like, I’d have to boost myself to do like a Jim boost to
Natasha:Yeah well I’m only 5’2 so they hit me like pretty high.
Interviewer:So have you guys been on a cruise since? Or
Natasha:Yeah so we went on a 9 day cruise 2 years later and nothing happened. And then we booked the cruise for Hawaii but that didn’t happen last month but we’re going to rebook that for next year so, that’s all good. Yeah.
Interviewer:Well thank you so much for your story this is awesome. Yeah so I’m putting it together. This is a really cool story, it’s much better than I thought the backpacker one. Well I know Australia has like — because like when I live there I remember like it’s just got the freakiest true cry, because there aren’t a lot of guns. But I try to explain when I lived in the U.K. and lived in Australia, I always told people like no matter where I was, I felt very safe because like civilians don’t have guns or in the US like anyone could have a gun right, know what I mean, so like the worst like maybe someone like you know would be — where I grew up in Los Angeles like outside of Los Angeles, but there’s like a shooting here all the time, like it’s always on the news. Whereas like a shooting happened, I think there was like one I think the blood big thing it wasn’t a shooting it was the rugby player at old David Hooker got punched at a club in Sydney. It was like a one punch homicide, he hit the ground during that fight and that was — it became murder, it was one punch homicide. I remember that was like the biggest thing and I think the Redfern riots and then there were some other stuff. But like none of it was gun violence or anything like that so when like crime happens, it’s Australia it’s something weird like the backpacker murders or
Natasha:Well the backpacker murders there was guns.
Interviewer:There was guns?
Interviewer:Oh yeah that Milan, what’s his name? Milan
Natasha:Ivan Milat, Ivan Milat. He had a huge stash.
Interviewer:Is what — it’s Wolf Creek kind of based, that film, kind of based?
Natasha:Yes a bit of him and a bit of Bradley Murdoch, yeah.
Interviewer:Bradley Murdoch, he’s the one that got the — British girl and her boyfriend.
Natasha:Yeah, yeah, yeah. Peter Falconio and Joanne, Joanne Leeves, think her name was Joanne Lees.
Interviewer:Look all those stories are like don’t go into the bush, it’s basically like, don’t go into the bush unless you’ve got like twelve people with you.
Natasha:Yeah well they were — that was in the middle of like where there’s nothing, but the Milat one it’s like heavy, dense forest.
Interviewer:Yeah, yeah. I never went too far — I think I went to Wollongong, I went to Canberra which I thought Canberra was one of those most boring places I’ve ever been.
Natasha:It is, it is. You wouldn’t go there by choice.