James Grimes fell off a cruise ship. Photo: © ABC News
For 28-year-old American James Grimes, a cruise from New Orleans to Mexico’s Cozumel was the first in his life. He boarded the luxurious ship with 18 of his relatives: several generations of Grimes decided to spend a week together after several years without seeing each other because of the coronavirus.
Unfortunately, James did not manage to visit Mexico: the man fell overboard when the ship was sailing through the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The poor man spent more than 15 hours in the open sea!
James disappeared the first night. After dinner, he went to a bar with one of his sisters. The fun continued, and around midnight, James said that he would go to the bathroom. But he never returned to the bar. They all decided that the guy who had taken the alcohol had gone to sleep in the cabin.
I missed him only the next day. All this time, James was desperately trying to survive in the open sea.
Photo: Alexey STEFANOV
But how did the guy end up overboard? James says that he doesn’t remember.
At some point, I woke up in total darkness. I realized that I was in the open sea and there was no ship nearby! he paints. – My main fear was the fear of drowning. But I wanted to see my family again and I just didn’t want to accept that this would be the end of my life.
The American was helped to stay in the water by a bamboo log that came out of nowhere into the sea. He also chewed it sometimes. Average food, but the bamboo helped the boy get rid of the terrible taste of salt water in his mouth.
At some point, something stupidly hit the poor man in the legs – Grimes decided that he was surrounded by sharks and mentally said goodbye to life. But the underwater creature, whoever it was, left the man alone.
In an interview with the TV people, James said he was saved by optimism. The guy kept telling himself over and over again: “It didn’t kill me to fall overboard, I didn’t get eaten by sharks, so I’ll live!”
The ship that James sailed on is a real houseboat. Photo: Mason Piscitelli/Wikimedia Commons
naked and frozen
In fact, after spending the night and most of the next day in the water, James saw the lights of a large tanker. And he felt, as he now understands, the last burst of energy. Approaching the huge ship, he too noticed rescue helicopters circling above it.
The guy took off his shirt and shorts, tried to pull them over his head, but didn’t make it to the spotlight. The helicopters circled three times before the pilots spotted the man in the water.
James almost fainted when the bright light finally hit his eyes. I managed to whisper to the lifeguard coming down the cable that he was stark naked in the water. The man was completely exhausted, suffered from hunger and hypothermia (the water temperature at night dropped to 21 degrees Celsius, which is not critical for a person, but it is still quite cold), but he answered the questions of rescuers. and was able to give his name.
Back at sea?
Now James Grimes is no longer afraid of anything, believing that he has his own guardian angel. And even plans to go on another cruise. If only because the previous one did not end as he wanted.
But the cruise company does not even think of giving the lucky one a free trip. The captain of the cruise ship and the management of the company insist: the weather was fine, not a hint of a storm, and one can fall into the water through the railings of open decks and cabin balconies only with a very strong desire. . Also, many find the glitch that occurred in the passenger’s memory at the time of falling overboard to be strange. The opinion of critics is unanimous: James jumped into the water while drunk.
James himself recounts the following detail: before boarding the ocean liner, he found a traditional fortune cookie in his trouser pocket. The prophecy on the piece of paper said: “Life is an eternal bath, so enjoy the waves.” Apparently, the higher powers are sometimes not averse to joking either…
5 tips to survive on the high seas
What if you find yourself in open water and have to wait indefinitely for help? Oleg Gegelsky, an expert on survival in emergency situations, gave advice to Komsomolskaya Pravda readers.
1. Suppress panic. In extreme situations, panic kills most often: adrenaline is released and “burns” all the useful substances necessary for a long fight, often causing vasospasm. That is, a person can stagger with fright for an hour and a half, and then, exhausted, go to the bottom.
2. Try to find floating objects. They will help you stay longer on the surface of the water.
3. Find landmarks. It could be a shoal or an island. If there is a feasible distance to a hard surface, start moving in this direction, calmly, preferably on your back, in order to save your strength as much as possible. If you have been on a ship where many people have seen you, it is best to stay where you are.
4. Don’t fight the current. If it is strong, it is useless to fight it. You must swim out of it slowly and at an angle.
5. Don’t get rid of clothes. Clothing reduces heat loss. Heavy coats and jackets must be removed. The rest must be left.