This man probably did not fall into the ocean after attempting to jump ship to join a rival cruise line, but that’s what ended up happening. A 33-year-old employee of Norwegian Cruise Line fell overboard on Saturday, en route from Cuba to Miami, and spent 22 hours adrift before being rescued by a Carnival Cruise Line ship. One of Carnival’s crew members spotted the man in the water, about 21 miles north of Cuba, and the ship lowered a lifeboat to bring him aboard. He is currently in stable condition and will be dropped off in Cozumel, Mexico for further treatment.
What makes the rescue truly astonishing is the amount of time the man was in the water. It’s common for overexposure and exhaustion to set in after just a few hours in the ocean, yet this Norwegian employee was able to survive for nearly a full day. Mike Tipton, a professor at University of Portsmouth whose research focuses on the physiological and psychological responses to adverse environments, told The Telegraph that survival in the water is all about monitoring energy and temperature levels. “Don’t thrash about as that uses heat and energy,” he says. “Keep a positive mental attitude and don’t give up.”
Though the Norwegian ship conducted a search covering 1,630 square miles, they weren’t able to find the man. Carnival’s rescue was, truly, a miracle. Norwegian experienced a similar situation back in March, when a passenger fell overboard, but on that occasion the ship was able to rescue her immediately.