A man who went missing after falling off a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico has been miraculously rescued, US Coast Guard said. A dramatic video has emerged that captures the moment the 28-year-old unnamed man is hoisted and rescued from the Gulf of Mexico by the Coast Guard after a grueling 15-hour search.
The video shows the man signaling at the coast guards when they spot him in the chilling waters and rescue him with much difficulty. The man, who hasn't been identified, was reported missing after he fell overboard the Carnival Valor cruise ship following a night of drinking in the early hours of Thursday.
Saved from the Clutches of Death
The man was reported missing by his sister who said he left the bar around 11 pm and went to the restroom but never returned to his room. Matt Lupoli, a representative for Carnival, told CNN that the sister reported him missing on Thursday at about noon.
Rescue teams gathered soon. The man was spotted and identified in the ocean by the crew of the bulk carrier Crinis, who then informed the Coast Guard of his whereabouts. He was rescued around 8:25 p.m. about 20 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana.
The dramatic video captures the moment the wan was spotted and rescued. Although the video is a shade hazy, the Coast Guard's rescue clip clearly shows the man floating and appearing to wave at the helicopter.
The coast guards then struggle to reach the man who appears to be unresponsive. However, they make a valiant effort and finally manage to pull out the almost-dying man.
Although he was unable to explain how he fell overboard, he was able to identify himself and provide the authorities with his name. His identity is not known to the general public. Authorities said, he could have been floating for more than 21 hours till he was rescued.
According to Lieutenant Seth Gross of the USCG New Orleans branch, the man was found to be dehydrated, in shock, and suffering from hypothermia.
"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."
Mike Anderson, a passenger who spoke to CNN, said he saw security agents combing the ship for the man and showing other travelers photographs of him on their phones. The rescue operation is helmed as a miracle now. Throughout his 17-year career, Gross said this mission was "unlike anything I've been a part of."
Carnival's Care Team is "providing support to the family members of the missing guest who were sailing with him and remain on board," Lupoli said. The ship is bound for Cozumel, Mexico.
"We greatly appreciate the efforts of all, most especially the U.S. Coast Guard and the mariner who spotted the guest in the water," Lupoli told CBS News.
The victim was airlifted to New Orleans, where he is receiving medical attention.
He was last seen at the Carnival Valor's bar with his sister around 11 p.m. on Wednesday, before he left for the bathroom and did not come back. KPLC 7 reports that his sister didn't file a missing person's report until the following day at noon.
He was never found after a thorough search of the ship. Around 2.30 p.m., crews contacted the Coast Guard. "We have not been able to confirm when he entered the water, so we're under the assumption [that] any point from Wednesday on, he could have entered the waterway," Gross told CNN.
"He realistically could have been in the water for 15+ hours before we were able to successfully rescue him."
After being relieved from the search, the ship turned around and headed back toward New Orleans to assist the US Coast Guard before continuing on its original course toward Cozumel, Mexico.