A tourist who fell overboard from a cruise ship and managed to save himself by swimming for 20 hours in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico spoke about an “unforgettable experience”. The accident happened on the Carnival Valor, on which the tourist, James Michael Grimes, was on a five-day Thanksgiving cruise with his family.
The tourist stayed on board for only one day – they were last seen with their sister in a restaurant, where the sister won a contest to play an imaginary guitar, after which she went to her cabin. She raised the alarm when he did not return to his cabin at night.
At the same time, the tourist cannot explain how he ended up overboard. In an interview with ABC News, he suggested that he “passed out and fell overboard”, waking up already in the water. “I was in the water, and the ship was not visible. I decided to swim and try to survive,” said the 28-year-old tourist. As a result, as it turned out, he spent 20 hours in the open sea, “fighting jellyfish, turbulent currents and waters, swarming sharks” before he was discovered in the waves by the US Coast Guard and evacuated.
The coast guard also “stopped” the cruise ship from which the tourist fell, after receiving information about a person overboard – the boat was heading to the Mexican island of Cozumel. As soon as the tourist was found, the liner resumed movement. The tourist was transferred to emergency medical care at the New Orleans airport. “We are extremely grateful for the positive outcome of this case,” commented Lt. Seth Gross, Coast Guard Sector New Orleans search and rescue mission coordinator.
Cruise ships have safety barriers in all public areas to prevent guests from falling. Guests should never climb onto the handrails-barriers.