Norwegian Cruise Passenger Fell Overboard and Was Rescued Tuesday Night

norwegian epic cruise ship
A passenger on the Norwegian Epic cruise ship fell overboard March 6 and was rescued by the crew. The passenger is in stable condition. Johann Visagie/Flickr

The final night of a Norwegian cruise on the line's Epic vessel was anything but boring.

Tuesday evening, off the coast of the Bahamas, one of the guests onboard the more than 1,000-foot-long vessel fell off and into the ocean below.

Luckily, the guest was rescued by the crew of the ship and successfully brought back onboard, Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement to Newsweek. Once onboard, the guest was taken to the on-site medical facility, evaluated and determined to be in stable condition. After the ship arrived in Port Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday morning, the guest was able to get further care onshore, the statement said.

Details about how the guest fell overboard or whether any foul play was involved were not included in the statement, and Norwegian did not respond to Newsweek's questions about the fall.

"We are thankful that our team reacted quickly and was able to rescue the guest. Our thoughts and prayers are with the guest and their family as they embark on the recovery process and our CARE team is providing support and assistance during this time," said the statement from the cruise line.

The boat was full of vacationers enjoying their last night at sea at the time. Kandace Tice, a 20-year-old student at Florida Gulf Coast University, was napping in her room before dinner when she and her friends heard an alarming noise and felt the boat "shake" around 9 p.m. They soon realized that the shaking they felt was the boat slowing down and went out onto the balcony to see what was going on.

"On the balcony, we saw the emergency boat go into the water," Tice told Newsweek. But it was pitch black out in the middle of the ocean—the ship had left port in the Bahamas nearly five hours earlier and was scheduled to reach Florida by morning, she said.

"We couldn't see anything," said Tice, who added that at that time they didn't know what was going on but could see people in the bridge of the ship moving around and looking out into the water. The women thought maybe a smaller boat had sunk nearby. But then they saw where the emergency boat was heading. "We saw the blinking vest," said Tice.

Another passenger on board posted a video of the rescue boat heading out on Twitter.

For about 45 minutes to an hour, the ship stood still while the emergency vessel made two trips out into the night, said Tice. When the captain of the ship made an announcement over the intercom, he was "almost casual," maybe trying to keep everyone calm, she explained.

"The captain said on the intercom there was a passenger overboard but she was rescued and taken to the hospital," said Tice, "Thankfully, she was OK."

The captain added that the boat would still make it back to Port Canaveral on schedule the next morning.

It wasn't until Tice and her friends went to dinner that they learned more about the incident. They ran into a group of parents who said they had seen the whole thing happen, said Tice.

The story onboard was that the woman, who was on vacation with her parents, was on the top deck of the boat, about 15 stories high, when she leaned over the railing to take a selfie and ended up falling. The parents said that other passengers made an attempt at pulling her back over but couldn't so they tossed her a life vest and got help immediately, said Tice.

The cruise had previously scheduled Tuesday as a day at sea to take the boat from the Bahamas back to Florida, but due to water conditions, the plan changed, and instead the boat docked in Nassau on Tuesday morning. That meant the boat had to make up for a day at sea in one night, which isn't entirely unusual. But even before the woman fell overboard, the ship was traveling pretty quickly that night—or, as Tice described it, "They were hauling butt."