NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Newlyweds on a cruise ship flew back to New Orleans after an accident that left the husband in critical condition.
The Coast Guard rescued a 23-year-old man who fell almost 20 feet on the Carnival Valor cruise ship early Tuesday morning.
"A man who had fallen from an interior balcony onto the deck of a cruise ship, sustained very serious physical injuries," Command Duty Officer Ben Jacober said.
Coast Guard launched a helicopter from New Orleans to airlift the man to UMC.
"He was stabilized by the medical crew on board the vessel," Jacober said.
He said the ship was 65 miles off the coast of Venice, but turned back to the mouth of the Mississippi River for the helicopter rescue.
"They were further offshore and did come back closer to where the helicopter could meet them just to save time," Jacober said.
Those aboard said they didn't initially know they were turning around, but noticed the ride became rocky as they sped back.
"My mother-in-law got really sick, it started giving us headaches. People weren't able to stand up, we were holding onto rails at the buffet and pizza counter," Sara Galliano said.
She said it wasn't until the next morning until they were told about the incident.
"They said it was a medical evac, that we had to turn around that we were headed back to Mexico, and that any excursions that were interrupted, they would personally let us know and that they would extend our time at Cozumel," Gailliano said.
Passengers say the man was on a honeymoon with his wife.
“I just think they should have told people what to expect when they turned around, so that way you can prepare. Go get Dramamine or whatever you need. When that situation arises, they didn’t do what I think is necessary to keep their other passengers in good condition,” Galliano said.
Those aboard the cruise ship say they arrived four hours later than planned.
According to the Coast Guard, the man is in critical but stable condition.
A spokesperson said they are investigating the incident.