A Very Sad Day

October 13, 2010 -

John Heald

Last night at 1 am my phone rang and so did the alarm bells in my head when I heard the captain’s voice requesting my “immediate” presence on the bridge. And this time those alarm bells rang true because when I arrived I saw the ship’s powerful spotlight illuminating the sea which meant that we were searching for something………or someone.

Sadly, it was someone…..in fact it was one of our crew members who had been reported jumping overboard by several of his fellow crew members and the search was on to find him. The crew who had witnessed this had immediately thrown a life ring and a lifejacket overboard and as soon as both hit the water their emergency beacon lights were activated and were now illuminated even more by the Carnival Splendor’s emergency spotlight.

Captain Cupisti then ordered the ship’s rescue boat to be lowered and very quickly the boat was in the water and heading towards the life ring and lifejacket. We all stood on the bridge hoping and praying that the crew member would be close by…………but he wasn’t.

At this time I had to advise the guests. This is always a difficult decision to make because at 1:30 am most guests are asleep. But with a rescue boat in the water, spotlights dancing across the waves and the thrusters maneuvering the ship in a search pattern I felt it was absolutely necessary to inform everybody on board…………..and so I did.

A few minutes after every balcony had guests looking, pointing and wondering what was going to happen. The ship’s command had already contacted the Mexican Coast Guard as we were in their waters and asked for assistance. We also contacted US Coast Guard as well so they were aware of the situation……….and the search continued.

At 2 am I made one last announcement suggesting that the guests go back to sleep and that if there was any news that I would let them know immediately. And I have to say most people listened and returned to bed………….and the search continued.

At 7 am we were joined by a Mexican Navy vessel that assisted us in the rescue attempt but it had now been 6 hours since the crew member had been reported going over the side and hopes were fading more and more. Carnival Splendor was released by the Mexican Coast Guard and we’re now proceeding to Puerto Vallarta. The Mexican Coast Guard continues to conduct search and rescue operations.

At 8 am I advised the guests that we had lost a valued and dear crew member to the sea and that we would make our way now to Puerto Vallarta where we would arrive at approximately 2 pm.

I am not going to write about the fact that our late arrival meant excursion changes and cancellations and the extra activities etc we were doing because none of that matters. We lost one of our own tonight, someone who just a few hours earlier was serving the guests and who now is lost to us forever.

When you walk through a storm
Keep your chin up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At he end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.

Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone,
You’ll never walk alone.

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.