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Trouble on the high seas: 8 scary cruise stories

  • Authorities say a worker admitted to assaulting cruise passenger and attempting to throw her overboard
  • Here's a look at seven other scary cruise stories
Trouble on the high seas: 8 scary cruise stories

A 28-year-old room service attendant has been accused of sexually assaulting a female passenger on a Holland America cruise ship.

Authorities said in a criminal complaint filed Monday that Ketut Pujayasa confessed to the crime. The victim is a 31-year-old unidentified U.S. citizen, according to the complaint.

Pujayasa told authorities he delivered breakfast to the woman's room and later looked for her "in order to punch her in the face for insulting him that morning," according to the complaint. He said he returned to her room that night, used his master key to enter, and started choking her. The woman fought back with a cork screw as the fight eventually moved on to her balcony. Pujayasa tried to push her overboard, according to the complaint.

The woman was able to escape and seek help from another passenger.

All cruise ships that embark and disembark in the United States must report criminal activity to the FBI, thanks to The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010. Those crimes include murder, suspicious deaths, theft and sexual assault. Fifteen such cases were reported between January 1, 2013 and September 30, 2013.

Here are seven of the many cases concerning cruise ships that have made headlines over the years:

Groom murdered on his honeymoon?

George Smith, 26, went overboard from the Royal Caribbean Brilliance early one morning in July 2005. His family's attorney said that his wife, Jennifer Hagel-Smith, was found passed out in the cruise ship hallway. Investigators found blood in several places: on the sheets in the couple's room, on a canopy over the lifeboats and in the shape of a hand print on the couple's balcony. Smith was hanging out with several Russian-American passengers and one apparently made an incriminating statement about the incident on surveillance video, according to the family attorney. The FBI's New York office agreed to review the case last year.

Strangled by her husband in their cabin

Robert McGill was charged with murdering his wife during a Carnival Elation cruise in 2009. The FBI said Shirley McGill was beaten and strangled to death by her husband, according to U-T San Diego. The paper also reported that Robert McGill was sentenced to life in prison in 2011.

Florida boy drowns aboard cruise ship

A 6-year-old Florida boy drowned in a pool aboard the Carnival cruise ship Victory in 2013. The boy was spotted underwater by passengers who said they were caught completely off-guard by the incident. The boy's 10-year-old brother was in the pool with him at the time.

Women disappears after mysterious phone call

Rebecca Coriam was working aboard the Disney Wonder ship when she disappeared in 2011. The British woman made a call right before her disappearance -- but no one knows who she spoke to or what the call was about. Coriam's parents are still looking for any information related to their daughter's disappearance.

Sexual assault out at sea

A 42-year-old female passenger aboard the Coral Princess says a Portuguese crew member sexually assaulted her during a cruise in 2009, according to an FBI affidavit. The woman met the 38-year-old crew member for drinks in a ship dining room. The crew member was charged with aggravated sexual abuse, according to HLN affiliate KABC.

A rape drug overdose

Within 14 hours of snapping a smiling photo with her 14-year-old daughter as they boarded the Pacific Sky in 2002, Dianna Brimble was dead. A coroner’s inquest into the 42-year-old Australian mother’s death revealed that she overdosed on the date-rape drug GHB. One of the men who was with her that night was convicted of supplying a prohibited drug, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Two lovers lost as sea

Kristen Dennis and Paul Rossington both fell off the balcony of the Carnival Spirit in 2013. Security cameras captured the couple in a dispute before they retreated to their room, according to the Herald Sun in Australia. Rossington’s family has remembered him as a hero, saying he sacrificed his life by jumping in after his girlfriend to save her.

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