A 28-year-old man has been rescued from the Gulf of Mexico after falling off of a cruise ship and spending hours in the water.
The man, who has not yet been identified, was rescued by the Coast Guard on Thanksgiving, hours after being reported missing. The man had apparently fallen off the Carnival Valor, a ship from the Carnival Cruise Line that was en route to Mexico.
USCG Lt. Seth Gross characterized the rescue as “a miracle” in an interview with WWL-TV.
“I will say one of the highlights of my Coast Guard career was calling the family who was onboard the Carnival Valor to let them know their son was alive and en route to additional medical care,” Gross said. “Truly just a miracle especially on a holiday like Thanksgiving where it’s predominantly around family and spending time together.”
Gross said that the rescued man was stable, but appeared to have mild hypothermia, shock, and dehydration.
The ship was in the midst of a five day cruise beginning in New Orleans, and including stops in Cozumel and Progreso in Mexico. The man’s sister reported him missing after he had not returned to his room after leaving to go to the bathroom at around 11 p.m. Wednesday evening.
Rescue crews had to be on the lookout for a search area about the size of Massachusetts since the ship had gone 200 miles since the man had last been seen.
After being spotted in the water by a cargo ship, a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew pulled the man out of the water and brought him to an emergency medical care unit in New Orleans. He was lifted out of the water at about 8:25 p.m. Thursday, after spending hours in the water.
“We are beyond grateful that this case ended with a positive outcome,” Gross said. “It took a total team effort from Coast Guard watchstanders, response crews, and our professional maritime partners operating in the Gulf of Mexico to locate the missing individual and get him to safety. If not for the alert crew aboard the motor vessel Crinis, this case could have had a much more difficult ending.”
The Coast Guard Heartland shared footage on Twitter of the rescue.
Footage from the rescue of the cruise ship passenger last night. Can also be downloaded here: https://t.co/xk0pBnVr1E pic.twitter.com/GK1IXCKlgx
— USCG Heartland (@USCGHeartland) November 25, 2022