Search & Rescue personnel said that the woman was rescued just over 10 hours after she fell into the Adriatic sea as the ship that she was on cruised around 60 miles offshore in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The 46-year-old female passenger had been aboard the Norwegian Star cruise ship when she plunged into the frigid sea where she remained until being rescued by local coastguard personnel who had been alerted to the incident by the cruise ships Captain and crew.
The rescued Brit later told local press that she fell off of the stern of the ship and that she was “very lucky to be alive”.
Speaking to Croatian news channel HRT after alighting from the coastguard patrol boat the ‘Cavtat’, she added: “I was in the water for 10 hours, so these wonderful guys rescued me.”
She was then taken to hospital in an ambulance in order to be checked over before being released.
The rescue vessel’s captain, Lovro Oreskovic, said she was located on Sunday “exhausted” – having trod water for nearly 12 hours, adding: “We were extremely happy for saving a human life.”
A statement from Norwegian Cruise Line confirmed that a guest had gone overboard while the ship was on its way from Vargarola to Venice.
It said: “We are pleased to advise that the guest was found alive, is currently in stable condition, and has been taken ashore in Croatia for further treatment.
“We are very happy that the individual, who is a UK resident, is now safe and will soon be reunited with friends and family.”
It is currently not known how the female managed to end up in the Adriatic, as the guardrails on most cruise liners are quite high in order to prevent passengers from going overboard.
However, the female is extremely lucky to have not only been found, but to have been found alive.
During my time in the Royal Navy and RNLI, whenever there were reports of anyone going over the side, then the chances of finding them were extremely slim.
Whilst I was in the Royal Navy at least, you just knew that if you happened to fall over the side, then if no one saw you falling into the sea, it would be a one-way trip. It was one of the reasons as to why none of the ships company were allowed on the upper-deck after sunset.
It can be near-impossible to try and determine an accurate search pattern, owing to the unpredictable currents and unexpected swells.
Keep in mind that the lady would not have had any life-saving equipment with her such as a life-vest etc – so the fact that she was not only found, but found alive is extremely lucky.
The rescue authorities would have been given the track (course and speed) of the ship and would have taken into the account the last time she was seen.
They would have then had to calculate the search area based on their own local knowledge in relation to the currents of the sea within the area where the casualty would have believed to have been.
The mean temperature of the Adriatic sea at this time of year, is around 23 degrees celsius – had she of fallen overboard at any time other than the summer months then she would not have lasted more than around 10 minutes in the sea before would hyperthermia kicked in.
The picture of the lady climbing aboard the Coastguard vessel shows that the female was wearing only a few items of clothing – maybe she took off any additional layers in order to prevent her from being dragged under.
It is hard to imagine how she must of felt, floating alone for ten hours in the middle of the Adriatic.
Even when on a large cruise ship, the sea can seem like a very lonely place, let alone when you are floating around in it on your own in the middle of the night.
The 92,000 ton cruise ship is just under 1000ft LOA and has a capacity for 2,400 guests. She has just under 1100 crew and was refurbished 2018
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula.
The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest and the Po Valley.
The countries with coasts on the Adriatic are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Montenegro and Slovenia.
The Adriatic contains over 1,300 islands, mostly located along its eastern, Croatian coast.