A brother and sister left for a location appropriate for the holiday season in the early hours after the Carnival Valor departed New Orleans on Thanksgiving eve. They went to an onboard bar.
Naturally, the man eventually left to use the restroom. But he never returned. Hours went by.
He was not in his cabin. Simply put, the 28-year-old had disappeared. At least one seasoned mariner was shocked by what transpired next; in hindsight, he described it as “one of those Thanksgiving miracles” because of the astounding result, unlike anything he had ever seen.
An aerial and maritime search is conducted.
According to the sister, her brother left at approximately 11 p.m., Carnival spokesperson Matt Lupoli said in a statement to CNN on Thursday. According to the information, she reported him missing at noon on Thanksgiving Day. Authorities have not named both.
Passenger Mike Anderson told CNN on Thursday that announcements across the ship urging the missing person to check in with guest services were heard and that people “noticed security starting to search the boat with a photo of the missing (passenger’s) in their phones.”
A final check-in request was sent out at about 2:00, he said. According to Anderson, passengers were informed that the arrival time to their port of call in Cozumel, Mexico, would be delayed. According to his wife, Whitney Gaines, one of the ship’s pools was drained, but they said no official statement about what had transpired had yet been made.
Anderson reported that the ship then made a U-turn. Lupoli said, “Carnival Valor retraced its path to assist the search and rescue.” Then, at approximately 2:30 p.m., the ship called the Coast Guard, according to a statement from Coast Guard Lt. Phillip VanderWeit. There was a missing cruiser. He said a multi-crew search for the man was soon underway, both by air and sea.
A critical mission and a 200-mile zone
Lt. Seth Gross, a search and rescue coordinator for the USCG, told CNN on Friday morning that the Coast Guard “launched all available resources” after sending out an alert to all vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. He said they included small boats from Venice, Florida, a New Orleans-based helicopter, and planes from Clearwater, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama.
According to Gross, the search area in the gulf was more than 200 miles, and the water there Thursday night was slightly around 70 degrees, with the Mississippi River being a little colder.
We understood that communication with the mariners in the Gulf of Mexico was going to be crucial because of the lag time between when the man was last seen and when the Coast Guard was alerted, said Gross.
The mission becomes more serious. The crew of the bulk carrier CRISIS was surveying the ocean about 20 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, according to a news release from the Coast Guard on Friday. And then, around 8:25, they noticed something.
“Unlike anything I’ve experienced.”
The dude was there. According to VanderWeit, a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from New Orleans flew to the scene and “hoisted the man onto the chopper.” He was also receptive, according to USCG Petty Officer Ryan Graves. Gross said to CNN’s Boris Sanchez on Friday: “He was able to identify his name, verify that he was the person that fell overboard.”
He could walk and speak despite “showing indications of cold, shock, and dehydration.” He further stated, “he offered no clear indication of why he fell overboard or what time particularly.” “You just can’t take for granted that he was able to keep himself afloat and above the surface of the water for such a long time,” said Gross. “It’s just something that’ll live with me forever.”
According to Gross, who appeared on “CNN This Morning,” rescuers cannot precisely estimate how long he was under, but it may have been longer than 15 hours. He remarked that if it were that long, it would be “the very longest that I’ve heard about — and simply one of those Thanksgiving miracles.”
“This case is unlike anything I’ve been a part of,” Gross said of his 17-year career. In my opinion, the will to survive is something you need to consider in every search-and-rescue case because it kind of blows the norm, the normalcy, out of the water here. This scenario might have had a considerably more challenging resolution if the motor yacht CRINIS’s attentive crew had not been present.
In the news release, he said. “To find the missing person and get him to safety, a total team effort from Coast Guard watchstanders, reaction personnel, and our professional maritime partners operating in the Gulf of Mexico was required.” According to Graves, the saved man was given to emergency medical workers waiting at New Orleans Lakefront Airport.
According to Gross, he is being examined at a hospital, and the Coast Guard stated that his status was stable late Friday morning. According to Anderson, a man-overboard incident was announced to guests Thursday night over the PA system back on the Carnival Valor. However, Anderson recalls hearing that the ship had been let go of the search and was once more making its way toward Cozumel.