Cruise passenger who fell overboard rescued in Gulf of Mexico

Man (28) is found on Thursday evening some 20 miles off Louisiana after falling into sea on Wednesday evening

A passenger was rescued from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday evening after falling overboard from a cruise ship, the US Coast Guard announced.

At 8.25pm on Thursday, the coast guard located a man (28) in the sea about 20 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, after he apparently fell overboard the New Orleans-to-Mexico Carnival Valor cruise ship on Wednesday evening.

In a statement to CNN, Carnival officials said the man was reported missing on Thanksgiving Day after he walked away from his sister at an on-board bar the night before at 11pm – likely to use the bathroom.

He never returned, prompting his sister to alert staff members the next day. CNN reports that numerous announcements were made throughout the ship for the man to check in with guest service, but to no avail.


At around 2.30pm on Thursday, the cruise ship alerted the coast guard about the missing passenger.

“Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a call from the Carnival Valor at approximately 2.30pm Thursday, reporting a passenger aboard the cruise ship was missing. Watchstanders then coordinated the launch of several rescue crews to begin searching,” the coast guard said in a statement.

The rescue crews included a boat from Venice, Florida; a New Orleans-based helicopter; as well as aircraft from Clearwater, Florida and Mobile, Alabama, the Coast Guard told CNN.

The 200-plus-mile search was made complicated by the time difference between when the passenger was last seen and when the Coast Guard was alerted.

Six hours later, crew members from the vessel Crinis discovered “a person in the water”, Lt Seth Gross of the Coast Guard said – who turned out to be the missing passenger.

A Coast Guard helicopter transferred the man to medical services at the New Orleans Lakefront airport.

“He was able to identify his name, confirmed that he was the individual that fell overboard,” a Coast Guard spokesman told CNN. “He was showing signs of hypothermia, shock, dehydration” but was reported to be in stable condition by the Coast Guard late Friday morning.

“The fact that he was able to keep himself afloat and above the surface of the water for such an extended period of time, it’s just something you can’t take for granted and certainly something that’ll stick with me forever,” Mr Gross said.

Mr Gross added: “The will to live is something you have to account for in every search and rescue case. This is one of the absolutely longest [times in the water] I’ve heard about and one of those Thanksgiving miracles.” – Guardian