Only one day had passed since the Carnival Valor set sail when announcements over the loudspeaker asked a specific passenger to report to customer service.The 28-year-old American citizen’s family had reported him missing that morning.
The Valor, a 3,756-passenger cruise ship that had departed New Orleans the day before, was sailing toward Cozumel, Mexico, on Thanksgiving. According to Shant’a Miller White, who was travelling with her husband and family, crew members quickly started looking through passengers’ cabins. “We just need to make sure everything is OK,” a staff member stated as she entered the cabin of her relative.
Ms. White experienced nausea as she imagined the unidentified traveller floating alone in the lake.
Did they plummet to the ground? Did sharks catch them? Ms. White remembered her thoughts. She started praying.
James Grimes, 28, who was on the five-day cruise with his parents and siblings, was identified as the passenger by the Coast Guard.
However, the family alerted the crew at 10:45 on Thanks-giving morning when there was no trace of him, according to the Coast Guard.
A passing tanker saw the man near the mouth of the Mississippi River around 8:10 p.m., more than nine hours after his family reported him missing, and notified the Coast Guard.
Mr. Grimes was discovered by rescuers straining in the water, furiously waving, and fighting to keep his head above the water.
In the Gulf of Mexico, where bull sharks and blacktip sharks are abundant, Mr. Grimes, whose family characterised him as an amazing swimmer, had treaded in 65 to 70 degree water for hours while enduring rain, 20-knot winds, and three to five foot waves, according to Coast Guard officials.
How frequently does this occur?
A cruise passenger’s greatest nightmare can be falling from a ship into a large body of water. According to statistics from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), while the likelihood of falling overboard is extremely tiny, the result is typically devastating.
Only nine of the 25 persons who fell overboard in 2019 were saved, according to CLIA.
In February, a passenger on board the Carnival Valor jumped off the ship’s 10th deck to escape security guards who were attempting to apprehend her after she had tangled with them. Her remains were never located.
After a night of excessive drinking in December 2016, a 22-year-old man fell from the 12th deck of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. His parents filed a cruise claim.
According to Ross Klein, a professor of social work at Memorial University of Newfoundland who studies cruise safety, alcohol is a contributing factor in at least 11% of falls from cruise ships, which frequently provide all-inclusive drink packages that encourage drinking onboard.
Cruises are perceived as peaceful, secure, and, of course, official pronouncements and advertising only serve to support this perception. But he added that the general public should be aware of the risks associated with taking a cruise, which include being pushed overboard, falling overboard, and feeling tempted to do so.
How are people kept from jumping overboard on ships?
According to Professor Klein, railings are required to be 42 inches tall by legislation. After Congress started discussing laws to enhance security on ships in 2005, there were attempts to make the railings nearly another foot taller, he added. But the railing height limits were set at the present standard in 2010, when Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, he claimed.
According to Brian Salerno, senior vice president for Maritime policy at CLIA, the railing height is intended to keep passengers safe along ship promenades.The cruise line thanked the Coast Guard and the mariner. Coast Guard standards that prevent a guest from falling off.” The rails should never be climbed by visitors.
What happens if the crew discovers someone has fallen overboard?
According to Mr. Kritzman, cruise ships have well-defined procedures for what to do if someone jumps overboard.
After discovering a passenger has gone overboard, the crew members promptly alert the Coast Guard, stop the ship, and turn around to search for the missing person. According to Mr. Kritzman, the ship frequently sends out smaller, swifter boats to seek for the missing person.
The specific moment Mr. Grimes fell overboard as well as the circumstances behind his recent fall from the Carnival Valor are unknown. The Coast Guard reported that it was looking into the event.
According to Lieutenant Gross, the Coast Guard deployed a 45-foot patrol boat as soon as it learnt about the missing passenger.
To look for him, use a tracking plane and a helicopter. He claimed that the Coast Guard immediately informed any mariners in the Gulf of Mexico to search for the man and established a search area covering more than 7,000 square nautical miles, or about the size of Massachusetts.
About 20 miles south of Southwest Pass, a canal at the mouth of the Mississippi River, a bulk carrier saw Mr. Grimes.
According to Lt. Gross, he informed the man’s mother and step-father that he had been located.
He could hear them crying and cheering when he explained that their son was doing well and receiving treatment at a hospital in New Orleans.When the ship announced that Mr. Grimes had been found alive, Ms. White, who lives in Hampton, Va., and leads an anti-bullying organisation, said she was overcome with relief. She said, “That was nothing but God that he lived.”