On Wednesday, February 16th, The Carnival Valor was docked in New Orleans after a 32-year-old woman reportedly jumped overboard into the open water.
Cellphone footage revealed that the woman was being detained and struggling with security as they escorted her up a flight of stairs. Then the video shows people’s surprise reactions as they realise the woman jumped from the 10th floor of the cruise ship.
According to eyewitnesses, the woman hit the side of the cruise ship before hitting the water face down.
Another passenger reported seeing blood as the woman hit the water:
“She broke loose and flipped herself over the side,” he said, adding that an eyewitness described seeing her head strike a lifeboat as she fell overboard.
“She saw blood when [the woman] hit the water and jerking motions. She said it looked like a seizure, and I said that might have happened with the head injury.”
Several passengers also said that she was detained after an incident with a man in the hot tub area.
“Security got her out of the hot tub. Whenever they got to take her into custody, apparently she was upset and went over the rail.”
The search for the woman was suspended after 14 hours
Staff immediately sprang into action and threw life preserves down to mark where the woman landed in the water. The cruise ship remained in the area and circled for hours while trying to locate the passenger.
“Carnival Valor supported the search for a guest who jumped overboard from her balcony on Wednesday afternoon while the ship was at sea. The ship’s command immediately began search and rescue procedures, returned to the area near where the incident occurred and notified the US Coast Guard,” a spokesman for the cruise shop, Matt Lupoli said in an email.
The Coast Guard searched about 2 500 square miles over 14 hours before suspending the search.
“The decision to suspend a search-and-rescue case is never one we come to lightly,” Coast Guard spokesperson Chief Warrant Officer Tricia Eldredge said.
“We offer our deepest sympathies to the family during this difficult time,” she added.
The guest was travelling with her husband and other family members on the five-day cruise to Mexico.
“Carnival’s CARE team is providing support to the guest’s husband who was travelling with her, as well as her family,” he added. “Coast Guard officials took over the search effort and released Carnival Valor on Wednesday evening. Our thoughts are with our guest’s family.”