A Ham Lake couple were instrumental in saving the life of a man missing at sea in the Caribbean.
Daniel and Deb Egan on March 4 were enjoying their first night of fresh Caribbean air on a balcony of a Carnival Cruise ship, the Victory, when they heard someone shouting for help. They looked around and spotted a man sitting on what remained of a small catamaran.
The crew of the Victory appeared to have not spotted this man because the massive cruise ship was only about 30 feet from him and quickly passed, according to Deb Egan. They only saw him because he was sitting on the hull of his white boat.
Deb said they called 911 from the ship phone to report the sighting. About 45 minutes later, the head of security stopped by their room to request their presence on the bridge. The captain asked them and other witnesses to describe what they saw. Capt. Carlo Aquilone then got on the radio to notify the Coast Guard.
The ship did not need to turn around because they were not far from shore and the Coast Guard took care of the search, Deb learned. The ship had left the port at San Juan, Puerto Rico, around 10 p.m. and they had spotted the man about 11:50 p.m. on March 4.
Deb said she had a sleepless night wondering whether the man would be found and if he survived. The next morning at breakfast, they were invited to go to the guest services room where they were informed that the man had been found by the Coast Guard about three to four hours after the captain called it in.
The man was transported to the hospital and would be OK. He was missing at sea for three days.
“It was pretty surreal,” Deb said. “We’re thankful he’s going to be OK. I’m glad somebody saw him.”
On March 7, the Egans and two other couples who had also called 911 were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres with the captain and other executive officers in the state room of the ship.
They were on the cruise ship until March 11. After spending an extra night in San Juan, they flew home.
Eric Hagen is at [email protected]