The missing Carnival Cruise passenger was discovered by the U.S. Coast Guard with signs of hypothermia and shock after perhaps spending more than 15 hours in the ocean, according to rescuers.
The unidentified 28-year-old guy was discovered alive and in stable health in the Gulf of Mexico after falling overboard the Carnival Valor cruise ship after a night of partying. He may have been in the water for as long as 21.5 hours.
On Thanksgiving Day at 8:25 p.m., the US Coast Guard (USCG) rescued him around 20 miles south of the Southwest Pass in Louisiana, not far from where the ship left New Orleans for Mexico.
Lieutenant Seth Gross of the New Orleans section of the United States Coast Guard stated that the individual was found suffering from cold, shock, and dehydration.
He was unable to explain how he fell overboard, but he was able to identify himself and provide his name. His identity has not been made public.
The individual was transported to New Orleans and is currently receiving medical care at a hospital there.
He was last seen with his sister in the bar aboard the Carnival Valor at 11 p.m. Wednesday when he departed to use the restroom and did not return. According to KPLC 7, his sister waited until noon the following day to report him missing.
The ship was exhaustively examined, but he could not be located. Crews contacted the Coast Guard around 14:30.
“We have not been able to confirm when he entered the water, so we are operating under the assumption that he might have entered the river at any point beginning Wednesday,” Gross told CNN.
Realistically, he could have been in the water for more than 15 hours before we were able to rescue him.
The ship had retraced its steps to New Orleans to assist the US Coast Guard before resuming its journey to Cozumel, Mexico, once the search was concluded.
At 8:25 p.m., another vessel noticed the victim and a helicopter rescued him approximately 20 miles south of the Southwest Pass in Louisiana.
Wednesday 11pm: The man is last seen at the bar with his sister
Thursday 12pm: Sister reports him missing to crew staff
12-2.30pm: Crew searches for the man and cannot find him
2.30pm: US Coast Guard received a call and Carnival Valor begins backtracking toward New Orleans
Unspecific time: Ship is released from search by the Coast Guard
8.25pm: He is spotted by another vessel and rescued by the Coast Guard via helicopter
Total time missing: 21.5 hours
It is unknown how long he was in the ocean. The water temperature around New Orleans is approximately 70 degrees.
Given the time discrepancy between when he was last seen and when the Coast Guard was alerted, Gross stated that the rescue attempt was challenging.
They sent an emergency message to all vessels in the Gulf and “launched all available resources,” including a small boat, helicopter, and airplanes that covered 200 miles of “active search” territory.
“Time was of the essence,” Gross told CNN.
His family received assistance from Carnival while he was absent. Gross reported that he spoke with his family, who remain onboard the vacation liner.
Gross described this mission as “unlike anything I’ve been a part of in my 17-year career.”
Gross told the site, “I believe this obliterates any notion of normalcy.” The will to live is a factor that must be considered in every search and rescue operation.
This is the longest story I have ever heard and one of those Thanksgiving miracles.
Mike Anderson, a ship guest, reported seeing cruise employees searching for the man and hearing announcements regarding a missing person.
CNN quoted him as saying, “I witnessed security searching the boat with a photo of the missing passenger in their phones.”
Carnival stated in a statement to DailyMail.com on Friday, “We highly appreciate the efforts of everyone, especially the US Coast Guard and the mariner who saw the passenger in the sea.”
The ship will cruise to Progreso, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, before returning to the United States on Monday.
The five-day cruise departed from New Orleans and arrived in Cozumel on the third day. The following day, passengers will visit a different port before returning to Louisiana.
A 32-year-old lady plunged overboard earlier this year after being taken back to her room by security.
Three Carnival Valor security personnel are shown on camera holding the woman’s arms behind her back. Despite previous reports by passengers, she was not handcuffed.
She was heard yelling “Alicia” as security escorted her off the pool deck and up a flight of stairs during an alleged hot tub incident.
The 32-year-old lady allegedly leaped into the ocean shortly after being removed from the deck.
Her leap was not captured on video, but passengers informed Fox 8 that she struck the boat’s side before landing face-first in the ocean.
Passengers can be seen running to the ship’s edge as crew members hurl life jackets and flares to mark her position in the ocean. The passengers allege the woman vanished shortly thereafter.
A traveler reported seeing blood and jerking gestures after a woman fell overboard.