A cruise ship passenger who went overboard was located after apparently treading water for a day and rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter crew 20 miles off Southwest Pass, La., Thursday night.
The 28-year-old man was reported as missing by the crew of the 951’x116’ cruise ship Carnival Valor to the Coast Guard around 2:30 p.m. Thursday, triggering a launch of rescue crews by watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans.
CNN reported the man was sailing with his sister from New Orleans to Cozumel, Mexico, when he stepped away to use a restroom around 11 p.m. Wednesday. When she had not heard from her brother the next day, the woman notified the Carnival crew around noontime that he was missing; a search of the vessel commenced, CNN reported quoting a statement from the cruise line.
The Coast Guard deployed an MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew from the New Orleans air station, a 45-foot response boat-medium crew from the Venice, Fla. station, and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry air crew. The Carnival Valor turned around to search along its own track, and an urgent marine broadcast went out for vessels to keep a lookout for the missing passenger.
The crew of the 555’x89’ bulk carrier Crinis, bound for New Orleans, spotted the man in the water and vectored the Coast Guard to the location. The Jayhawk helicopter crew located the passenger and rescued him at 8:25 p.m. Thursday. After hoisting the man onto the helicopter and transferring him to awaiting emergency medical services at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport, he was reported in stable condition at an area hospital.
“We are beyond grateful that this case ended with a positive outcome," said Lt. Seth Gross, a Sector New Orleans search and rescue mission coordinator in a statement.
"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.”