SA Cruise News

South African man rescued after jumping overboard from MSC Orchestra on New Year cruise

On the final day of 2019, a male passenger jumped overboard from MSC Orchestra during her New Year Cruise to Mauritius.

The man jumped at around 4am on December 31st, prompting a search-and-rescue operation in the middle of the Indian Ocean. After an hour, he was recovered from the water and sent to the ship’s medical centre for further treatment.

The man was rescued after an hour in the water

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According to Ross Volk, Managing Director of MSC Cruises SA, the man suffered only minor injuries.

“Our ship’s security protocols were activated immediately, and the ship command responded promptly and adequately,” he said, adding that the ship’s schedule was not impacted.

MSC Orchestra docked in Mauritius on New Year’s Day and stayed in port until Friday when she departed for Reunion Island.

After an overnight there as well, she will return to Durban on January 8th to continue her 2019/2020 South African cruise season.

It’s unclear if the passenger and his family were allowed to continue their cruise.

According to one passenger aboard the ship, security officers began conducting a headcount when the man was reported missing. She said the crew were trying to establish which cabin the man belonged to.

One of the ship’s tenders was deployed to recover the passenger

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“They were very kind to us and answered all our questions. They kept apologising for waking us up,” she told IOL.

Gerhardt Jooste, a financial lawyer from South Africa who was also on the cruise, captured the final moments of the rescue from an upper deck of the ship.

Footage shows a rescue boat being hauled up the side of the cruise liner using two cranes before the man walks off wrapped in a silver blanket.

He then lies down on a backboard positioned nearby, before members of the crew wrap him in blankets.

MSC Orchestra, built in 2007, has a capacity of 3,200 passengers and almost 1,000 crew, and features a spa, swimming pools, a jogging track, theatre and casino.

She is the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in South African for the cruise season, alongside her sister ship MSC Musica, which spent a season in Durban last year.

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