US Coast Guard rescues missing Carnival Valor passenger from Gulf of Mexico

NEW ORLEANS — A passenger aboard the Carnival Valor was pulled from the Gulf of Mexico, alive and responsive, by the U.S. Coast Guard on Thanksgiving Day.

The man, who has not been identified publicly, was reported missing at around noon Thursday after no one was able to locate him since his sister last saw him at 11 p.m. the previous night, WWL-TV and KPLC reported.

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In a statement provided to WWL, Carnival Cruise Line said that the man was with his sister at a bar Wednesday evening and reportedly left around 11 p.m. to use the restroom and never returned to the bar or his stateroom.

According to Coast Guard officials, several crews began scouring the Gulf of Mexico at around 2:30 p.m., and about six hours later the crew of a cargo ship, identified as Crinis, alerted the USCG that an individual had been spotted in the water.

The man was listed in stable condition late Thursday after an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew “hoisted” him from the Gulf and transferred him to New Orleans Lakefront Airport where medical personnel were waiting, WWL reported.

“We are beyond grateful that this case ended with a positive outcome,” Lt. Seth Gross, a Sector New Orleans search-and-rescue mission coordinator, said in a prepared statement.

“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. If not for the alert crew aboard the motor vessel Crinis, this case could have had a much more difficult ending,” Gross added.

The five-day, round-trip cruise left New Orleans on Wednesday and has resumed its scheduled sailing to Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico, KPLC reported.

According to WWL, a 32-year-old woman jumped overboard from the Valor in February, about 150 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River.