It was a vacation from hell for one traveler, who fell off a cruise ship into the Gulf of Mexico and spent 15 hours stranded in the water.
A Carnival Cruise passenger had a terrifying experience when he accidentally fell overboard into the Gulf of Mexico. James Grimes, a 28-year-old traveler, was stranded in the water for a staggering fifteen hours. Despite the odds, he refused to give up and managed to stay afloat until the Coast Guard arrived to rescue him.
Grimes’ struggle for survival lasted longer than expected. The search for him took hours, and by the time he was found, he was close to death, with no energy left to fight the elements.
According to Richard Hoefle, an aviation survival technician, Grimes had reached his limit. “He had no energy. He had nothing left to give,” Hoefle told WWL-TV. The Coast Guard estimated that Grimes had only a minute left before he would have succumbed to the harsh environment of the Gulf of Mexico. “My best guess is that he had between a minute and 30 seconds left before we lost him completely,” Hoefle said.
Fortunately, Grimes was spotted by a passing crew member of a cargo ship, who alerted the Coast Guard to his location. When the Coast Guard arrived, they found Grimes treading water, barely conscious. They threw him a rescue sling, which he clung onto, and he was pulled to safety. Hoefle described how Grimes collapsed into the sling, too weak to speak or even hold on. “Once I handed that to him, he just collapsed into it. He couldn’t talk to me,” Hoefle said.
The ordeal took a toll on Grimes. In addition to being physically exhausted, he was also suffering from hypothermia and was near death. Hoefle praised Grimes’ will to survive, saying he did whatever he had to do to stay alive. “It’s hard to keep your mind in the right place, and then to throw that Hail Mary last couple of minutes of waving, swinging a sock around, anything to make himself more visible to us, that’s survival,” Hoefle said.
The rescue was not like any other mission Hoefle had been on before. He described how people react differently when they are rescued, with some breaking down in tears, some in shock, and others acting crazy with relief. However, Grimes’ case was unique, and his survival was nothing short of miraculous. “That was a one in a million, and we got it done,” Hoefle stated.
The video of the rescue shows the Coast Guard pulling Grimes out of the water and onto their boat. Despite the odds, Grimes managed to survive a terrible ordeal and was rescued just in time. His story is a reminder of the strength of the human will to survive in even the most desperate circumstances.
WATCH the video below for more details: