Carnival Cruise Line and local tourism officials in the US Virgin Islands have called two shoreside entertainers heroes after they saved a woman in a wheelchair from drowning when she fell into the water.
The incident happened last Monday when Carnival Fascination was docked in St Thomas. The unnamed passenger was being brought back to the ship by family members when her wheelchair fell into the water.
“Two local entertainers who were working on the pier quickly jumped into the water and, with the assistance of our security team, were able to return the guest ashore,” Carnival Cruise Line told Cruise Radio.
Video footage of the men struggling to keep the passenger above water was posted to Facebook.
“The guest was seen by our medical team, and did not sustain injuries,” the cruise line added. “A complimentary replacement wheelchair has been provided for the duration of the cruise.”
Carnival went on to express “our most sincere thanks and appreciation to these individuals for their heroic efforts in assisting this guest.”
NBC news has identified the two men as Randolph Donovan and Kashief Hamilton. Donovan was working as a stilt dancer on the pier for the local Department of Tourism.
“I jumped straight in the water from the top level of the dock,” he told NBC. “I removed her from the wheelchair because I didn’t want the wheelchair to sink with her in it.”
Hamilton then jumped in when he realized his friend was becoming fatigued from holding the woman above water. “I can’t lose my friend, so I jumped in,” he said.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Commissioner Joseph Boschulte of the US Virigin Island Department of Tourism also thanked the men. “I want to thank and acknowledge two members of our Visitor Experience team at the Department of Tourism,” he said.
“[They] went above the call of duty … to save a disabled Carnival Fascination passenger from drowning at The West Indian Company (WICO) dock. Our team at the Department of Tourism truly value their heroic efforts, and thanks to them, a young visitor’s life was saved,” he added.