After more than 24 hours in the ocean, a man who fell from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico has been rescued.
In a Thanksgiving holiday miracle, the passenger on Carnival Valor went missing at around 2:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday and wasn’t pulled from the water until Thursday night.
He was discovered by a US Coast Guard aircraft about 20 miles off the coast of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, and despite the incident, he was believed to be in stable health.
A spokeswoman for the cruise line, Matt Lupoli, told US media that the 28-year-old man vanished while taking a toilet break after visiting a bar with his sister.
When he failed to return to his room overnight, she informed the crew of his absence.
The Coast Guard sent out boats and a different air team aboard an Ocean Sentry surveillance plane, along with the Jayhawk helicopter crew that ultimately succeeded in saving him at around 8.30 p.m.
The crew of a carrier called Crinis, which was working nearby, noticed the man and asked for help.
“Unlike anything I’ve experienced”
The search and rescue mission coordinator, Lieutenant Seth Gross, stated that his team was “beyond thrilled that this case ended with a positive conclusion.”
“To find the missing person and get him to safety, it took a whole team effort from Coast Guard watchstanders, reaction personnel, and our professional maritime partners operating in the Gulf of Mexico,” he continued.
“This case could have had a considerably more challenging resolution if not for the alert crew aboard the motor vessel Crinis.”
According to Lt. Gross, the rescue effort was “unlike anything I’ve been part of” and involved sending a 200-mile-long alert to all mariners in the Gulf of Mexico.
The will to live is something you need to take into account in any search-and-rescue scenario, he said, adding that this situation “sort of blows the standard, the normalcy, out of the water here.”
When he was discovered, the man was “responsive but experiencing hypothermic-like symptoms,” according to CBS News. At New Orleans Lakefront Airport, he got emergency medical care.
“No clear indication of why he fell overboard or what time” has been provided by him.
His family is still present aboard the cruise ship, which is sailing to the Mexican island of Cozumel.