There are conflicting reports regarding why a Carnival cruise employee ended up overboard yesterday about a 100 miles south of Galveston. The crewmember was employed on the Carnival Magic cruise ship and went overboard while the cruise ship was underway around 10:30 PM Saturday night. The ship called the U.S. Coast Guard, but the ship’s crew rescued the crewman before the Coast Guard could arrive. 

A news station in Galveston was on of the first to report on the overboard situation. The station indicates that the cruise line indicated that the employee was working on the deck when he slipped over the railing. Other news sources indicate that he was wearing a life vest when he fell.  If these accounts are correct, my speculation is that perhaps the crewmember was working for some reason Carnival Magic Cruise Ship - Man Overboard - Crewmemberon or near the railing and had not properly attached his safety harness.      

Subsequent accounts, however, suggest that the crewmember "jumped."  A second news source in Galveston quotes the cruise line saying that at about 10:53 p.m. on Saturday, the crewmember “was witnessed jumping overboard.” 

In over 25 years of practicing maritime law, I have never heard a cruise line admit that a crewmember or passenger went overboard due to an accident or foul play.  If a cruise line is going to say anything, it will always be that the person intentionally jumped overboard.  In other words, its their fault.

Perhaps the crewmember did jump.  I don’t know.  But if he was working and wearing a life vest, why would he decide to jump?

The good news is that he was rescued and is alive.  But it’s disturbing to have such varying accounts of the incident.

The Magic returns to Galveston today.  Does anyone who sailed on the Carnival ship know what really happened?  Please leave a comment below.

  • Jim

    A ‘bravo portside’ was called over the intercom. The cruise director then came on reporting that someone was reported going overboard necessitating our return to the area. The bridge camera proceeded to broadcast the turning of the ship and the subsequent search using two search lights. A strobing light was visible below the horizon lights several minutes into the search. A rescue boat was later seen approaching the strobing light area and returning to the ship thereafter. The cruise director then came back on indicating that the person overboard had been wearing a life jacket for unknown reasons and that he was alive. At no time was it indicated whether or not the person in question was a passenger or crew member but the word ‘jumper’ was used during this dialog. No other information was given. The whole thing was surreal following one of the bumpiest and windiest days I have experienced on a cruise.

  • KC

    The crew member jumped from deck 4, after a drunkin fight with his girlfriend. This was confirmed by several crew members who witnessed the incident and altercation. Also, a passenger verified this on deck 4. The crew member was reported to be of Asian decent. The fact that he put on his life jacket before jumping suggests a very risky call for attention,help.

  • Melissa

    I was on the ship and witnessed the rescue..for the passengers, the details of the event were not any more clear than the news reports. It is clear that the man went overboard and was wearing a life jacket. The man must have been observed going over because another crewmber threw him a life ring immediately. We were able to see it in the water when the man was rescued. The reports on the cruise ship were that the man had jumped and his motives unclear. However, the whole thing is so sketchy. I really want to know what happened. If the man was observed going over someone has to know what happened which is why the conflicting reports are frustrating.

  • Cathy

    I was also onboard, he was seen jumping from deck 5 from the railing of the whirlpool .it was reported and then everything that Jim said happened. There was no work being done. And it would be almost impossible to fall.

  • Dena

    Same story here. I got the rescue on video and, although it is very dark, you can see the blinking light and/or life jacket was not located where he was. The blinking light was approximately 40 yards away from where he was picked up. I appears to me that he might have removed the life jacket or the light came off? It looked as though he was wearing something with reflective stripes. Maybe he was working on deck, Maybe he had other plans, who knows??? It was really bizarre…. This was my 6th or 7th cruise and the waves were pretty fierce all day. I fear if it would have happened earlier in the day, it would have been too rough to attempt a rescue in one of those little boats.

  • Thanks for all of the information.

    Dena – Can you send us the video of the rescue, or upload it to YouTube so we can link to it?

    Very happy ending whatever happened . . .

  • Robert Ponder

    I was on the ship on deck 7 when the call for “Bravo Bravo Port-side” came over the PA at approximately 10:30PM. The cruise-ship’s director gave an update to the events of the happenings. What I can say with some certainty was that he had to have jumped from the 5th deck of the ship because that’s the only outside access for the Magic unless you’re on a balcony of a room or on the top deck of the ship itself. The 5th deck is tricky because the safety wall is raised quiet high and it would take considerable effort to “fall off” seeing your would have to scale a 6ft glass wall. My guess is, they put it up to keep people from jumping. The likely story is the guy that jumped is going to try and sue Carnival for some type of work infraction but he’s going to have a tough time explaining his 6ft wall he somehow had to fall over. All and all, it was minimally disruptive, we had passed through some nasty storm cell that day and most of the ship’s passengers and crew were green. Hopefully the fella who jumped will receive some help, or, maybe Obama can give him a bailout and put it on my/your tab.

  • Jim Byrne

    We were also on board the Magic last night when the crewmember jumped. The ship announced “Bravo, Bravo….Port side.” We did not know what that meant, but later, the Cruise Director announced that someone had jumped overboard and that no other details were available. Our stateroom was on the starboard side just two decks below the rescue boat. I have 1080p HD video of the rescue boat,with four on board,being lowered into the sea, video of them searching, video of the rescue boat transferring the survivor back to the ship on Deck 0 and then the video of the heros raising the rescue boat back up to it’s lock on Deck 4. I will post it all on youtube tomorrow. One of the crew members told me that the survivor had jumped, that he had been drinking and had an argument with his wife. However, that is only hearsay evidence.

  • Shirley

    We were also on this cruise. We joined several other passengers on the Lido Deck to witness the rescue. I was so shaken with fear as to what we may be witnessing. How they ever found the guy in that dark gulf water (and so quickly) was a miracle. We could see the beacon and the life preserver, but no movement in the area the searchlight was focused when the rescue boat was launched. Rumors flying on board were that it was a 14 year old girl, a man who had lost a lot of money in the casino . . . a very traumatic ending to a very rough day at sea. Pretty sure we won’t be cruising Carnival again – although this was the most bizarre incident on this voyage, the overall experience was quite out of the ordinary. Would not be surprised if the crew member was disgruntled with Carnival – every employee looked weary and overworked.

  • Edwina Martin

    To Robert Ponder. How in the world could you manage to tie in the ship’s rescue of one of it’s crew members to a “bail-out” comment mentioning President Obama?
    “Bigot on a Boat”… that should be the name of the new reality show starring who else…YOU!

  • ash

    My family and I were also on this ship. My husband also got it on video (from deck 6 balcony). I have to say Carnival did a good job of getting turned around and find the guy so very fast!

  • Ruby

    To Shirley—what made you make the statement that you will never cruise “Carnival” again? Do you think that Carnival is responsible for this idiot to jump off the ship? People are so quick to blame the cruise line when something like this happens. I was on Carnival Magic 12/4 when the same thing happened and they we told that someone had jumped overboard–it all stemmed from a husband and wife arguing after drinking and he told her he was going to jump off! All the cruise lines will be better off with you off their ship with that type of attitude you have! People are people and should be responsible for their own actions and not blame innocent people or companies!!

  • liz

    We were in our stateroom when the announcement came on. We went to deck 10 port side to see what was going on. We had binoculars and cell phone. Everything Jim said above fits our account but we could see two blinking lights in the water. They rescued one of the blinking lights. The other stayed in the water. We assumed it was a second life vest that was floating near the man but passengers were initially concerned that there was a second victim.

  • liz

    We were in our stateroom when the announcement came on. We went to deck 10 port side to see what was going on. We had binoculars and cell phone. Everything Jim said above fits our account but we could see two blinking lights in the water. They rescued one of the blinking lights. The other stayed in the water. We assumed it was a second life vest that was floating near the man but passengers were initially concerned that there was a second victim.

  • Robert Ponder

    To Ms. Edwina Martin, it comes to me that you must be an Obama supporter and love what his politics represent. Good for you, that’s part of what being in America is all about. In that, there is a thing called political free speech tied to the 1st Amendment which states that I can say what ever I would like in a political manor and not violate any law or societal reverence. All I can say about your race baiting is maybe you should check the facts of your own President’s action while in office and make a presentable argument. You’ve sold yourself short yet one more time, don’t worry though Mr Barry Soetoro will run out of my money and your money will be next. Good luck in the next election.

  • Tabetha

    I also disagree with your comment about the employees looking overworked. If you are referring to the way they looked on Saturday, quite a few of them were sick, just like we were! Prior to Saturday (and even some on Saturday) every employee that I encountered greeted me with a smile.

    As far as my recollection of what happened. I was in the Showtime theater watching Bingo while I waited for Elvis when the announcements were made. As soon as John announced that someone had jumped overboard, I bolted to find my daughter, NOT to watch the events unfold. Of course, at that time we had no idea that the person was wearing a life jacket, so I was certain that it would not have a good ending and I didn’t want to witness that. I returned to the Elvis show after locating my daughter, and before the show ended John announced that the person was rescued and had been wearing a life jacket and was safe. The entire theater erupted with applause so thunderous that it was difficult to hear the rest of John’s announcement.

    I was also going to say that it would have been impossible for anyone to have jumped from deck 4, especially if a passenger supposedly witnessed the jump, as passengers do not have access to the exterior of the ship on deck 4.

  • MC

    The man was not wearing a life vest because there was no blinking light where he was in the water… The life vest that was found in the water, blinking, was either thrown after him or was separated from him. The way the crew found him was by locating the blinking light, which was a life vest. The light was automatically activated by contact of water. You can tell he did not go in with it because it was about 30-40 yards away from him. You can also tell that he had to have been working on a lower deck because a ten deck fall would have killed anybody on impact.

  • Teresa
  • Thanks for everyone’s comments – very interesting. But 2 questions remain:

    Was the crewmember wearing a life vest and, if so, why?

    Why isn’t Carnival explaining what the CCTV video shows?

    Any thoughts?

  • Jessica

    I was on deck 5 when “bravo, bravo portside” was called over the speaker system around 11 pm. It wasn’t two minutes later when all of the staff members were running to the portside deck. We didn’t really know what was going on until the cruise director came on the intercom system and informed us that someone had apparently jumped or fallen overboard. The captain immediately did a 360 and turned the boat right around. There was another ship RCL in the distance who was also assisting in trying to find the jumper.Our boat made a complete stop as our rescue team headed out the bumpy, dark waters in hopes to find the jumper.

    About 20 min later the cruise director came on the speaker system and said the found a blinking light in the water and they believed it could be the jumper. It was said someone witnessed him jumping off the railings. I, along with my friends headed up to the lido deck an watched the rescue team make their way to the jumper. From what we could see he was wearing a life jacket. It was kind of strange that every time the light shined on him, he would disappear. It seems he didn’t want to be rescued. A friend of mine witnessed the whole encounter and said he kept moving away for the light, every time the light shined on him he would move away from it. He said that when the light got to him the life jacket would go flat.

    It seems to me when he figured out he couldn’t get away from the rescue boat, he said the guy started waving his arms like he wanted to be rescued. He also said that he watched as they brought the guy in and they had him pinned down because he wanted to escape. I’m not sure what was going on with the whole situation or why he jumped, but he needs some serious help. Luckily by the grace of God he is still here. I have been on atleast 7 cruises and NOTHING like this has ever happened. Needless to say, It was an emotional experience I will never forget.

  • Michelle

    I was on Magic the week prior and I have to say the staff and evryone was wonderful. This event should not negatively reflect on Carnival people do silly things all the time no matter where they are and I agree I don’t see how anyone could “fall” overboard the glass walls and railings are way to high. I loved the Magic and can’t wait to get back on it!

  • Kim

    Wow, so many different stories floating around of the same incident. I, too, was there. Portside balcony on deck 7. The reason the spot light kept moving around is because of the blinking light in the water. When he jumped, the light had come off of his life vest. He was found unconscious but alive. Think about it – we were going about 20 knots and he jumped from either the third or fourth deck. Yes, JUMPED, didn’t “fall overboard.” Thus, the life vest! That is the equivalent of falling from a four-story building and hitting concrete. He was the first one off the ship and immediately taken to the hospital when we arrived in port Sunday morning.

    He was from the Philippines. This wasn’t just some random action. He had been depressed and yes, he did have an argument with his wife. Other crew members noted him behaving oddly and reported it. He was put on a “watch” for the last few days of the cruise, but I guess not close enough.

    This was told to me by other crew that knew him and the situation. If I am uncorrect about my “facts” also, then I apologize. Just trying to set a few things straight.

    This wasn’t Carnival’s fault; it was his. If anything, the captain and crew did an amazing job in their rescue efforts and also keeping everybody on the ship informed of what was happening.

  • Shirley

    To Ruby, Tabetha, Teresa — If you reread what I wrote, I hope you will see that I did not say it was because of this incident that we wouldn’t be cruising with Carnival again. We made that decision well before the incident on Saturday evening.

    Rereading my comments myself, I can’t find where I stated that Carnival was to blame for this incident or the bad weather that day.

    Having cruised on other lines previously, we were disappointed in several ways that did not pertain to this discussion, but I would be glad to discuss with you offline. I’d prefer if you allowed me to answer your questions before you jump on me for answers someone else gave you!!

    I highly commend the captain and the crew of the Magic for how the situation was handled.

  • AKA
  • shell17

    We were also on this ship on the port side, right under the boat that was sent out for the rescue. First of all I would like to commend the cruise director for telling us the truth, and keeping us updated. Secondly, after 15 cruises I will never take another one again. Not due to this jump, mind you. Actually, not to be rude, but this jump was the most exciting part of our trip. I started cruising in the 1980’s and the service, food, etc. has all gone downhill. All inclusive is the way to go. And by the way…..he “jumped” go to and read the cruise directors (John Heald) accounts of this incident.

  • Anthony

    My wife and I were on this cruise for our honeymoon. We would like to commend the crew for a job well done! As an ER Tech and Lifeguard Instructor I would have to say that this crew is the best of the best and I would sail with Carnival Magic anytime!

  • Mel

    I was also on the Magic. I cannot speculate on if the man jumped or fell. I do not know if the man was wearing a life jacket when he went into the water but I do know he was NOT wearing one after they rescued him and when he was laying in the rescue boat. He was laying very lifeless and at times water came up over him. At no point when water hit him did he move or did any of the three rescue workers appear to be concerned with him. He just was laying in the front, motionless with no life vest. I may be off, but why would they remove the life vest if he had it on in those volatile waters? Also, why would they not have covered him with blankets for warmth after 40 minutes in cold water (and the air temp was cold) and why wasn’t one of the rescuers caring for him on the way back to the ship? I’m not convinced he survived????

  • Justin

    @shell17 I went to Cruise critic like you said but could not find John Heald’s account of the incident. can you provide a more specific URL?

  • Jim

    I was on the deck of the Magic that night and i can tell you that the crew done a outstanding job. I’m glad that they train every week on how to handle these events. Way to go guys !!!!

  • Jane

    I was also on the ship, but won’t give version #15 of what everyone speculated and gossiped to have happened.

    I will say that I was amazed by the professionalism, sincerity, and devotion of each and every crew member that we interacted with. They were nothing short of spectacular and a true example of strong work ethic and customer service for us Americans to take back to land.

    Despite a rocky day at Sea Saturday (which no cruise line could avoid) and that days events, everything went without a hitch. We will be booking again before the end of the week.

  • SirQL8

    What no one seems to mention was the fact that the jumper WASNT wearing his life jacket when pulled from the water. Watching the rescue from deck 7, I (and the ships spotlight) observed the jacket’s EPRB beacon in the water about 100 meters from where the jumper was hoisted aboard the rescue dinghy. Also absent are comments regarding the ships very near proximity to a cluster of oil platforms. I think the dude was seeking asylum but had to ditch the jacket when he discovered it’s EPRB beacon’s auto-engage feature the second he hit the saltwater…

  • ken

    i am the brother of the person who jumped in the sea….all of the stories that was written here are not true, he is now on recovery and starting new life away from US