Royal Caribbean passenger survives after falling overboard
A woman fell overboard from the 10th deck of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship on Sunday and survived after a dramatic hour-long rescue from concerned passengers.
The unnamed 42-year-old passenger of the ship Mariner of the Seas fell into the waters about 27 nautical miles south of Punta Cana at around 5:44 p.m., the US Coast Guard said in a statement.
Crew members of a cruise ship launched a small lifeboat and were able to locate her in the vast ocean and bring her safely back on board, the statement said.
The woman, an American, was unharmed and required no medical treatment, but was later taken to hospital for a check-up.
“The ship and crew immediately reported the incident to local authorities and began searching for the guest,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement to Fox35. “Fortunately, the guest was successfully recovered and brought on board.”
Many passengers aboard the cruise ship said they expected the worst as they watched the scene from their balconies, Fox35 reported.
“After we saw the life rafts or lifebuoys and the smoke, I thought someone just died.” Matthew Kuhn said the outlet.
Kuhn was vacationing on the ship with his family when he noticed the commotion and heard the ship’s captain announce that there were “reports of a person overboard.”
“I think it’s great to see that everyone was on their balcony,” he said. “Everyone tried to help and the crew was very receptive to everyone.”
As the woman was pulled from the water by rescue crews, passengers on the main ship began to cheer, according to the outlet.
“To go from ‘She probably won’t be found’ – and… it’s a body restoration as opposed to ‘Holy shit, they found her and she’s alive!'” Kuhn told the broadcaster about the emotional roller coaster ride.
Statistically, Kuhn was not wrong in believing his first thoughts.
According to a Cruise Lines International Association report that tracked operational incidents from 2009 to 2019, only 28% of cruise ship passengers who fall overboard are safely rescued.
“When they found them, people were relieved,” Kuhn said. “It was just like, ‘Okay, cool.’ No one died on our cruise.’”
After the successful rescue, the ship continued its voyage and is scheduled to return to Port Canaveral on July 1.