The 28-year-old Carnival cruise passenger who was rescued on Thanksgiving day, 20 hours after he fell overboard, can't remember how he ended up in the water. What he does remember is playing in an air-guitar contest — and winning — on his first day on board the ship. And then, "I was in the water with no boat in sight."
James Michael Grimes told ABC News (video below) he must have passed out after a few drinks. How he stayed afloat until he regained consciousness is a mystery to him, but once he "woke up" he was determined to stay alive.
"I wanted to see my family and I was dead set on making it out of there," he said, explaining how he willed himself to tread water for as long as it took. "I was never accepting that this is it, this is going to be the end of my life. I'm 28 years old. I'm too young. This is not going to be it."
From Daily Beast:
That unbelievable determination led him to tread shark-invested water for 20 hours, where he says he battled jellyfish and rip tides. …
Grimes was rescued by the Jayhawk crew after a mariner spotted him in the water. "We are beyond grateful that this case ended with a positive outcome," Coast Guard search and rescue mission coordinator Lt. Seth Gross told ABC in a statement. …
The statement went on to imply that perhaps Grimes breached the safety barrier. "Cruise ships have safety barriers in all public areas that are regulated by U.S. Coast Guard standards that prevent a guest from falling off," the statement says. "Guests should never ever climb up on the rails. The only way to go overboard is to purposefully climb up and over the safety barriers."
Grimes, who was on the five-day cruise to Cozumel with 18 members of his family, did admit to drinking but said he has no recollection at all of how he managed to fall off the ship.
When ABC's Eva Pilgrim asked if he'd ever go on another cruise, he said, "I'd definitely be open to going on another cruise, because I didn't really get to go on this one."