Alabama Man Details How He Survived At Sea For 20 Hours After Falling Off Cruise Ship

An Alabama man is detailing how he was able to stay alive for TWENTY HOURS treading water in the Gulf of Mexico after falling off a Carnival Cruise ship.

In an interview with ABC, James Michael Grimes says he doesn't remember how he ended up falling off the Carnival Valor. He says that he "lost consciousness," before he "came to...I was in the water with no boat in sight."

It was then that he went into survival mode.

He says that he used his family for inspiration to stay alive.


Keep in mind the 28-year-old is in the MIDDLE OF THE WATER. Straight up a scene from Cast Away minus, oh I don't know, a damn life raft. Or that movie "Open Water." That movie is based on a true story about two scuba drivers who were accidentally left behind by their crew and it didn't turn out great as both are believed to have been eaten by sharks.

That's what was supposed to happen to James Grimes, and at one point nearly did!

" came up on me really quick. And I went under, and I could see it. And it wasn't a shark, I don't believe. But it had more like a flat mouth, and it came up and bumped one of my legs, and I kicked it with the other leg. It scared me, not knowing what it was ... all I could see was a fin," he told ABC.


One of the craziest parts of the story is HOW he was able to stay alive for all those hours. I can tread water for MAYBE 10 minutes before I'm absolutely wiped out. Talk about a workout.

Grimes says that at one point he saw a piece of bamboo floating in the water so he began eating some of it. "It gave some type of flavor in my mouth other than saltwater."

The night before Thanksgiving, Grimes and family members were at the bar aboard the Valor. However, he went to the bathroom and never returned. His sister didn't think much of it and only became concerned the next day when she couldn't find him. After informing the ship's crew, a full onboard search came up empty. They contacted the U.S. Coast Guard, who began a search and rescue.

Lt. Seth Gross of the USCG called Grimes' survival a "Thanksgiving miracle."

So what does one do after they are given a second chance at life and survived a situation that 99.9% of people would perish from?

Go back on another cruise, of course!

"I might not get within 10 foot of the rails, but I definitely would be open to go on another cruise, because I really didn't get to go on this one," Grimes joked.

Written by
Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.