A 32-year-old woman jumped off a Carnival Valor cruise ship nearly 150 miles offshore in Southwest Pass, Louisiana, on Wednesday, January 16, 2022. The ship was completing a trip from Cozumel, Mexico to New Orleans at the time of the incident.
Passengers reported that the unidentified woman had her hands restrained before going overboard for being involved in a disturbance on the hot deck within the cruise.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Gabriel Wisdom said that the Coast Guard's 8th District and Coast Guard Sector of New Orleans immediately launched a search operation after being notified about the incident.
Meanwhile, a passenger named Johnny Trupp managed to capture the moments after the incident on camera. The video went viral and was largely circulated on social media. The footage showed a life preserver being tossed into the water and a flare of red smoke coming from the area.
A look into the Carnival Valor overboard incident
The unidentified woman jumped off the Carnival Valor cruise ship’s 10th deck at around 2.30 pm on Wednesday. Witnesses alleged that the victim possibly struck a railing and a lifeboat while tumbling down the ship and reportedly fell on her face into the Gulf of Mexico.
The reason behind the incident has not been revealed yet, but fellow passengers reported that the woman’s hands were restrained before the overboard incident after she caused a disturbance with a man in the hot tub area inside the cruise.
Passenger Kim Barnette told WAFB:
“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.”
Meanwhile, another passenger claimed that the woman caused issues throughout the trip and allegedly threw a water bottle at security guards and even attacked one of the officials.
Intel Point Alert reported that passengers saw a woman putting on a life vest before intentionally jumping off the cruise. Other witnesses also alleged that the woman managed to free herself from the restraint before going overboard.
The 952-foot, 110,000-ton Carnival Valor reportedly departed from Mexico at around 3.27 pm on Tuesday and was expected to arrive in New Orleans on Thursday, but one passenger mentioned that it turned around to return to the area where the woman jumped off.
As per The Daily Mail, cruise lines are obligated to launch immediate search and rescue operations when a passenger goes overboard under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and Coast Guard regulations.
The U.S. Coast Guard also organized a rapid search investigation for the woman while Sector New Orleans and District 8 coordinated to launch an Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 aircrew as part of the rescue effort.
Meanwhile, the Carnival CARE team confirmed that it was providing support to the woman’s husband who was also onboard the ship with the missing guest.