Carnival officials said the man’s sister said he was previously seen leaving a bar on the Valor at around 11 p.m. Wednesday, but he never came back to his room. The 28-year-old man was reported missing around noon on Thanksgiving.
At around 2:30 p.m., the Coast Guard got the call from the cruise ship and launched a search-and-rescue operation.
According to Carnival, the Valor joined the Coast Guard to retrace its route and search for the man. After hours of searching the ship and nearby waters, the man was located in the ocean by Bulk Carrier CRINIS, about 20 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, around 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
Coast Guard Watchstanders hoisted the man up into a Jayhawk helicopter and transferred him to the New Orleans Lakefront Airport for emergency medical treatment. Details on the man’s medical status were not released.
According to a passenger who spoke to CNN, the cruise ship put out an alert for a missing passenger but did not make an official announcement explaining what happened at the time. Later on, they were told there was a man overboard, but the ship was released from the search and back on course to Cozumel, Mexico.
Carnival Cruise Lines released a statement thanking the Coast Guard for their help.
“We greatly appreciate the efforts of all, most especially the U.S. Coast Guard and the mariner who spotted the guest in the water,” the brief statement said.