Man survives 15 HOURS in the water after falling off cruise ship, video shows heroic rescue by US Coast Guard

Man survives 15 HOURS in the water after falling off cruise ship, video shows heroic rescue by US Coast Guard
Lt Seth Gross (R) of the US Coast Guard spoke to the media about the daring rescue that saved a man (L) who had spent approximately 15 hours in the water (YouTube/10TampaBay, WWLTV)

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA: A cruise ship passenger, who had fallen overboard into the water was found alive and rescued in the Gulf of Mexico. At the time of his rescue, he had already been in the water for what is an estimated 15 hours! The video of the survivor from the US Coast Guard has now surfaced, with a lot of commenters taking their time to appreciate the work of the rescue swimmers.

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In the video footage from the US Coast Guard posted by 10 Tampa Bay on YouTube, the man is seen swimming and keeping himself afloat by flapping his arms. He is then hoisted out of the water and while he manages to croak out an excited "Thank you" to his rescuers. The identity of the man is yet to be confirmed, but the Daily Mail has confirmed that the survivor is 28 years old and that he was rescued by the US Coast Guard on Thanksgiving. He is now in New Orleans for medical treatment.

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It was a carnival cruise from the coast of New Orleans to Cozumel, Mexico, that had taken off on Thanksgiving eve. When the missing man was reported, the ship was checked by a personnel who went around armed with his picture, asking all passengers if they had seen him. At this point, ABC7 reported that people "noticed security starting to search the boat with a photo of the missing [passenger] in their phones." After not being able to find the man aboard the ship, the US Coast Guard was informed.

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An alert was sounded off to all the mariners in the gulf, and all the available resources were dispatched. The vehicles used for the search were a small boat from Florida, a helicopter from New Orleans and airplanes from Florida and Alabama. More than 200 miles in the gulf were searched and the temperature of the water was nothing short of 70 degrees. Keeping in mind the hours between the man going missing and the reporting of the incident to the USCG, Lt Seth Gross, a search and rescue coordinator said "we knew that communication with the mariners in the Gulf of Mexico was going to be critical."

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It wasn’t until hours later at 8.25 pm, 20 miles south of the Southwest Pass that they spotted the man. Gross had later said that the man could have been in the water for more than 15 hours, though that number is a guesstimate. However, if it was, it is "the absolute longest that I've heard about - and just one of those Thanksgiving miracles," said Lt Seth Gros.

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"If not for the alert crew aboard the motor vessel CRINIS, this case could have had a much more difficult ending," Gross noted. "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," he added.

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