After falling overboard the cruise ship he was on with his family during Thanksgiving, a man spent nearly 20 hours treading water and swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.
28-year-old Alabama father James Michael Grimes was on a Thanksgiving trip on the Carnival Valor when tragedy struck. He recalled drinking a couple beers that day, both in the morning and in the evening after he had won an air guitar tournament. Then he passed out cold.
He thought he was in for a wonderful, peaceful time with his loved ones, but little did he realize that on the first night, he would be forced to face his worst fear.
Grimes, who has no recollection of his fall from the ship, comes to while drifting aimlessly in the ocean.
”The next thing I remember is waking up in the water. The boat was out of sight. I thought, ‘Wow, this is for real. I’m out here in the sea’”, he recalled.
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What followed was a struggle to stay alive while confronting his own terror of water. Grimes claimed that he would not have made it through the long hours at sea without some kind of supernatural help. “I can’t float myself even when I’m trying to do so… the Lord was with me when I was out there,” he recounted.
James’ thoughts kept drifting to his daughter Annabeth, who was nine at the time. He persisted despite being stung by jellyfish and having what he thought was a shark attack him. He did this because he desperately wanted to see his daughter. Meanwhile, fatigue and hunger were starting to take their toll on him.
Aboard the ship, James Grimes’s family had no idea he was missing and made no attempt to find him until his sister informed them. After that, the Coast Guard promptly launched a rescue mission to locate Grimes. Thankfully, Grimes was located in a healthy state. The rescue chopper swooped in, and he was hoisted out of the water in a basket and flown to dry land. His savior claims that had they waited any longer to search, they would have found him dead.
“I’m still bruised up and sore, but it’s a miracle I survived. It wasn’t my time to die. I’m grateful to see my family again”, Grimes said. Through it all, he had found comfort and courage in God. Grimes’s lack of serious injury is nothing short of miraculous.
To him and his loved ones, it felt like a miracle on the day of Thanksgiving. As a result of everything that has happened, James now has a reason to live. He learned a valuable lesson about appreciating what he has and not taking anything for granted. Even though he didn’t get to participate fully in this cruise, he still intends to go on one in the future and insists he won’t let what happened to him deter him.
Featured Image screenshot from embedded YouTube video.