GALVESTON, Texas – A man who fell about 50 feet from a cruise ship was released from the ship's medical center Monday, and a woman who also fell plans to have follow-up testing on land, the cruise line said.
The 22-year-old man and 20-year-old woman had only minor injuries after falling into the Gulf of Mexico from a balcony on the Grand Princess ship, said Julie Benson, a spokeswoman for Princess Cruises. They have asked that the circumstances remain private and requested that no personal information be released.
The man planned to continue on the cruise, while the woman planned to disembark Monday in Mexico, Benson said. The rescued passengers were not married, Benson said. She did not know how long they had known each other.
The Grand Princess was about 150 miles off Galveston when friends notified the crew early Sunday that the two had fallen, Benson said.
The captain turned the ship around, and the crew used high-powered spotlights to scan the water and launched rescue boats to find them.
"Just falling 50 feet, you can do some serious damage and basically knock the wind out of you," said Coast Guard swimmer Micah Franklin, who participated in the four-hour rescue. "If you survive that part, then you've got, depending on your swimming ability, how long are you going to be able to survive in the seas."
The waves were swelling up to 6 feet, and the wind was gusting to 30 mph, Franklin told NBC's "Today" show Monday. He said he was impressed that the two survived.
The railing around the cabin balcony is at least 4 feet high and meets all standard safety requirements, she said.
The ship was on its way to Costa Maya, Mexico, Benson said. The Grand Princess was carrying 2,783 passengers on a seven-day tour of the western Caribbean.