A passenger reported missing from the Carnival Valor was found in the water and rescued on Thursday, according to the US Coast Guard.
The man was last seen by his sister at a bar aboard the Carnival Cruise Line ship Wednesday night. The Coast Guard launched a multi-crew search effort by air and sea, and hoisted the man onto an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter.
The Coast Guard immediately entered the distress phase and issued a broadcast, launching a helicopter, a small boat, and a fixed-wing aircraft to search for the missing person. The search area was over 7,000 square nautical miles.
Fortunately, the Coast Guard located the missing individual and got him to safety after a total team effort from watch-standers, response crews, and professional maritime partners.
Yesterday evening, the Coast Guard helicopter was able to rescue the 28-year-old male who was suffering from mild hypothermia, shock, and dehydration. He was transported to a higher level of care and is currently in stable condition.
The Coast Guard says the man survived for more than fifteen hours in the water without a life jacket, and that he was going subsurface intermittently when the helicopter came overhead. He was likely exhausted and cold, and was out in the elements for an extended period of time.
The investigation into how this man got into the water is still ongoing.
Mike Anderson, a passenger on Carnival Valor, told reporters that he saw staff members searching for a missing passenger on Thursday. The ship was released from the search and was resuming travel to Cozumel later that evening.
When officials told the family that their loved one was safe, they were exuberant, cried and shouted. They were relieved to know that their loved one was still alive.