A young couple fell overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday, but both were rescued after a four-hour search and appeared to be in good condition, a cruise line spokeswoman said.
The 22-year-old man and 20-year-old woman fell 15 meters from a cabin balcony, said Julie Benson, spokeswoman for Princess Cruises. She said the cruise line did not know how they fell overboard, although it appears to have been an accident. Their ship, Princess Cruise's Grand Princess, was about 2401 kilometres off the coast of Galveston, Texas, at the time. The captain turned the ship around after friends of the man and woman notified the crew that they had gone overboard, Benson said. The ship's crew used high-powered spotlights and rescue boats in the search. One passenger was rescued by the ship's boats at 5:30 a.m. and the other at 6 a.m., according to a statement by the cruise line. The search was aided by the Coast Guard, said Lt. j.g. Jillian Lamb at the District 8 Command Centre. A nearby cruise ship also offered assistance, she said. The man and woman, whom the cruise line declined to name, were examined by the ship's medical staff. They sustained minor injuries, Benson said. "They appear to be in satisfactory condition and we hope that no further medical attention will be needed," Benson said. They will have the option of continuing on the trip or returning home when the ship reaches port. The ship was on its way to Costa Maya on Mexico's coastline, Benson said. Grand Princess was carrying 2,783 passengers on a seven-day tour of the western Caribbean. Earlier this month, a 35-year-old passenger from Orlando, Fla., survived eight hours in the waters off Fort Lauderdale after he jumped 60 feet off a Carnival cruise ship balcony, officials said. The man drifted 20 miles from where he fell and the Coast Guard found him the next morning. He was treated for hypothermia and a collapsed lung