US Coast Guard rescues Carnival Cruise ship passenger reported missing in Gulf of Mexico

(CNN) – In an act of great service and good luck, a man reported missing from the Carnival of Valor sailing in the Gulf of Mexico was found in the waters and rescued Thursday, according to the US Coast Guard.

The missing passenger was found unresponsive at the time of rescue and transferred to emergency medical staff awaiting New Orleans Lakefront Airport, USCG Warrant Officer Ryan Graves told CNN Thursday.

The man was last seen by his sister at a bar on the Carnival Cruise Line ship Wednesday night, according to a statement CNN obtained from Carnival spokesperson Matt Lupoli. The sister said the man left the bar around 11pm to use the restroom and never returned to his formal room.

The statement stated that she had reported him missing on Thursday afternoon.

“Carnival of Valor has been put back on course to support search and rescue,” Lupoli said. The coast guard has since released the ship and is sailing again toward Cozumel, Mexico. The Carnival of Valor left port in New Orleans on Wednesday.

Coast Guard Lt. Philip Vanderwit said in a statement that the Coast Guard received a call from the cruise ship at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday, launching a multi-crew search effort by air and sea.

After the crew spotted the man on another ship, the crew of an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter “lifted the man aboard,” Vanderwit said.

Mike Anderson, a passenger at the Carnival of Valor, told CNN he saw employees looking for the passenger Thursday.

Anderson said he began hearing announcements of the missing passenger checking in with guest services, and “noticed that security began searching the boat with the missing (passenger) photo in their phones.”

He said no official announcement was made at the time informing people on the boat of what had happened.

Anderson said the boat turned around 2 p.m. to turn back. He said passengers were told their arrival at the port of call, Cozumel, would be delayed. Later on Thursday evening, an announcement via the PA system informed guests that there had been an incident of a man at sea, but the ship was released from the search and resumed travel to Cozumel.

CNN’s Dave Alsop, Amanda Jackson, and Jose Leach contributed to this report.

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