SEVERE WX : High Wind Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Cruise ship rescues sailors stranded at sea

Two Costa Rican fishermen had been stranded on a small fishing vessel for 20 days until they stumbled upon a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. CNN's Christine Romans reports.

Posted: Dec 26, 2018 2:50 PM
Updated: Dec 26, 2018 2:57 PM

The two sailors had been stranded on their boat for nearly three weeks. They were adrift and out of fuel, low on fresh water, and surviving off what fish they managed to catch.

Hoping for an early Christmas miracle.

Their salvation came on Friday in an unexpected form: a massive cruise ship with 11 decks, a dining room, cafe, and specialty grille, four bars, a "vitality spa," and a rock-climbing wall to boot.

The Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas cruise ship discovered the two stranded mariners in a small fishing vessel Friday night halfway between Grand Cayman and Jamaica, spokesman Ted Miller told CNN.

The chance encounter was only possible because the cruise ship had been rerouted from Cienfuegos, Cuba to Ocho Rios, Jamaica due to inclement weather, he said.

The cruise ship spotted a signal light at 7 p.m. Friday evening, and then reduced speed and moved toward the small vessel. The cruise ship contacted Grand Cayman and Jamaica rescue centers, but they said they were unable to provide assistance, Miller said.

So just minutes before 10 p.m., the cruise ship lowered a smaller boat known as a tender and safely recovered the two sailors, Miller said.

The two mariners were given water and medical attention on board the ship and there were no injuries reported, Miller said.

The boaters, who were fishermen, had originally set sail from Costa Rica. As they slept overnight, their boat drifted away from their fishing gear due to the bad weather, Miller said. They ran out of fuel trying to get back, he added.

James Van Fleet, Royal Caribbean's chief meteorologist, tweeted more details and photos of the rescue. He said that the fishermen told the cruise ship's crew they only had enough food and water for seven days. The water was the primary issue, and they tried to fish for food.

One of the fisherman was so weak he could not walk, so the crew carried him to the tender and then on board, Van Fleet wrote.

The sailors were taken off the ship at Ocho Rios, Jamaica for medical attention. The cruise ship's crew gave them $300 to buy clothes and food as they left the hospital.

"Had we not changed itinerary to get to better weather, we would never have been in that spot at that time. Sometimes a little luck is all you need for a miracle," he wrote on Twitter.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3554629

Reported Deaths: 51395
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118754221106
Riverside2891853749
San Bernardino2853342673
Orange2603483889
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1098411765
Kern102627811
Fresno947941412
Sacramento929441464
Alameda800881224
Ventura77238834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55775944
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38763515
San Francisco34061398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano29968164
Merced28915395
Sonoma27954298
Imperial26843589
Kings21951218
Placer19713231
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15390209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12760185
Shasta10944174
Butte10915160
El Dorado9095100
Napa897668
Sutter884597
San Benito574359
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada393274
Mendocino379643
Amador344441
Humboldt316033
Lake313440
Glenn221023
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3947
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 41°
Oroville
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 37°
Chico
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 41°
Red Bluff
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 16°
Feels Like: 35°
Red Bluff
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 35°
Chico
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 41°
Slightly cooler temperatures and breezy north winds are on tap in your Friday forecast. Winds will get stronger on Saturday, but will diminish on Sunday. We'll be mostly dry through the middle of next week, but showers could return late next week.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events