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Carnival Cruise ship passenger who spent 15 hours overboard in Gulf of Mexico was seconds from death

US Coast Guard Aviation Survival Technician Richard Hoefle (pictured) said James Grimes was

A cruise ship passenger who fell overboard had only minutes to live before being rescued by the Coast Guard after struggling for more than 15 hours in the water.

James Grimes, 28, had waved a sock over his head in a desperate attempt to get attention before he was spotted by a carrier ship.

He was traveling on the Carnival Valor cruise ship with his parents and sister when he disappeared after a drunken night at the bar.

Grimes was reported missing about 12 hours after his disappearance, at noon on Thanksgiving Day, and was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico after the ship left New Orleans, Louisiana.

US Coast Guard Aviation Survival Technician Richard Hoefle (pictured) said James Grimes was

US Coast Guard Aviation Survival Technician Richard Hoefle (pictured) said James Grimes was ‘at his limit’ after spending 15 hours stranded in Gulf of Mexico waters

'M.  Grimes had nothing left.  He had no energy.  He had nothing more to give.  My best guess is that he had between a minute and 30 seconds left before he completely lost it,' said Hoefle (pictured), an Aviation Survival Technician 3rd Class.

‘M. Grimes had nothing left. He had no energy. He had nothing more to give. My best guess is that he had between a minute and 30 seconds left before he completely lost it,’ said Hoefle (pictured), an Aviation Survival Technician 3rd Class.

Grimes was found in the Gulf of Mexico on Thanksgiving Day after missing from the Carnival Valor (pictured in March)

Grimes was found in the Gulf of Mexico on Thanksgiving Day after missing from the Carnival Valor (pictured in March)

US Coast Guard Aviation Survival Technician Richard Hoefle said Grimes was “at his limit” when his four-man crew arrived to help save his life.

“Some people break down and cry, some people are in shock and don’t know what’s going on, some people are ecstatic and act a little crazy because they’re so happy to be out of the situation they’re in. are found,” he told 4WWL.

‘M. Grimes had nothing left. He had no energy. He had nothing more to give. My best guess is that he had between a minute and 30 seconds left before we completely lost him.

Dramatic footage shows Grimes struggling to fight off swells of water, with the Coast Guard releasing footage of his rescue.

The boat was en route from New Orleans to Cozumel when the man fell overboard

The incredible footage, released by the US Coast Guard on Friday evening, shows the man desperately trying to keep his head above the swelling waves

The incredible footage, released by the US Coast Guard on Friday evening, shows the man desperately trying to keep his head above the swelling waves

He disappears for a few seconds at a time (pictured, just a hand visible above the water) but manages to pull himself together above the swirling water off the coast of Louisiana

He disappears for a few seconds at a time (pictured, just a hand visible above the water) but manages to pull himself together above the swirling water off the coast of Louisiana

The dramatic moment Grimes was hoisted out of the Gulf of Mexico after 3 p.m. was released by the US Coast Guard. It shows him desperately trying to keep his head above the swelling waves.

He disappears for seconds at a time but manages to catch himself above the swirling waters off the coast of Louisiana.

Rescuers finally managed to winch him out of the water using a basket suspended from a helicopter in the dark at 8:25 p.m.

The Coast Guard said he suffered from hypothermia and dehydration.

The miraculous rescue came after an oil tanker spotted the man wading through the waters earlier in the evening.

The nearly pitch-black clip shows Coast Guard officers scrambling to reach him as he is tossed by the stormy sea.  They carefully lower a basket from the helicopter, and it fails to cling to it several times before finally finding its hold.

The nearly pitch-black clip shows Coast Guard officers scrambling to reach him as he is tossed by the stormy sea. They carefully lower a basket from the helicopter, and it fails to cling to it several times before finally finding its hold.

He is then winched to the helicopter and bundled up in the helicopter before being medically assessed.

He is then winched to the helicopter and bundled up in the helicopter before being medically assessed.

Teams had scoured an area of ​​the gulf the size of Rhode Island in search of the missing man before a vessel spotted him 20 miles south of Southwest Pass.

Grimes had only one sock on when he was rescued, with the water temperature around 70 degrees and he was suffering from hypothermia.

Hoefle handed him a rescue sling, adding, “Once I handed him that, he just collapsed in it.” He had no energy. He couldn’t talk to me. I was able to get his name and the cruise ship he fell off

“It’s hard to keep your mind in the right place and then throw that hail Mary in the last two minutes waving, swinging a sock, anything to make yourself more visible to us, that’s survival. He just had an incredible will to survive. And he did everything he had to do.

“It was one in a million and we did it. We worked as a team and we were able to help someone,” added Hoefle.

The nearly pitch-black clip shows Coast Guard officers scrambling to reach him as he is tossed by the stormy sea.

They carefully lower a basket from the helicopter, and it fails to cling to it several times before finally finding its hold.

He is then winched to the helicopter and bundled up in the helicopter before being medically assessed.

“It was one in a million and we did it.  We worked as a team and we were able to help someone,” added Hoefle.  He is pictured alongside his team, from left Lt. Katy Caraway, AMT2 Dalton Goetsch, , and Lt. Travis Rhea far right.  The four Coast Guard Cutters are part of an Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk crew.  Hoefle and Rhea participated in this rescue

“It was one in a million and we did it. We worked as a team and we were able to help someone,” added Hoefle. He is pictured alongside his team, from left Lt. Katy Caraway, AMT2 Dalton Goetsch, , and Lt. Travis Rhea far right. The four Coast Guard Cutters are part of an Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk crew. Hoefle and Rhea participated in this rescue

The man was flown back to New Orleans by helicopter (pictured)

The man was flown back to New Orleans by helicopter (pictured)

A passenger on the ship, Whitney Gaines, pictured here, told DailyMail.com she sat next to the missing man's family for breakfast the morning after he disappeared  The family were talking about the fact that he didn't come back to his room that night

A passenger on the ship, Whitney Gaines, pictured here, told DailyMail.com she sat next to the missing man’s family for breakfast the morning after he disappeared The family were talking about the fact that he didn’t come back to his room that night

The Coast Guard says that of the dozen people who fall overboard on cruise ships, the majority are never found because it’s hard to spot someone in the vast open waters.

Officials say the New Orleans Coast Guard is one of the busiest for water rescues, and October and November were one of their busiest times.

Chronology:

Wednesday 11 p.m.: The man was last seen at the bar with his sister

Thursday noon: Sister reports missing to crew personnel

Noon-2:30 p.m.: The crew searches for the man and does not find him

2:30 p.m.: The U.S. Coast Guard got a call and Carnival Valor begins to turn back to New Orleans

Indefinite time: The ship is released from the search by the Coast Guard

8:25 p.m.: He is spotted by another ship and rescued by the Coast Guard by helicopter

Total time at sea: 21.5 hours

A passenger on the ship, Whitney Gaines, told DailyMail.com she sat next to the missing man’s family for breakfast the morning after he went missing. The family was talking about the fact that he didn’t come back to his room that night.

Gaines said his family talks about how “he keeps getting in trouble for vaping in undesignated smoking areas because there’s only one place you can really go to smoke” .

According to Carnival’s official website, smoking, including vaping, is only permitted on decks 3 and 10 aboard the ship, as well as in the ship’s casino.

The Coast Guard confirmed to DailyMail.com that Grimes was the one rescued from the water.

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