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Cruise Ship Saves Men Who Spent 20 Days Adrift

Royal Caribbean liner spotted them through 'pure luck'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2018 2:50 AM CST
In this Monday, June 20, 2016, photo, the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Empress of the Seas is guided out of PortMiami by a pilot boat, in Miami Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
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(Newser) – It's going to be a merry Christmas for the families of two Costa Rican fishermen who spent nearly three weeks adrift after their boat ran out of fuel. Royal Caribbean International says its Empress of the Seas cruise ship rescued the two men Friday night after it spotted a signal light from their small vessel between Grand Cayman Island and Jamaica, CNN reports. The men told rescuers that strong winds had blown their boat away from its position after they set their nets and fell asleep. They ran out of fuel trying to get back. They managed to fish for food but were severely low on fresh water, having only brought enough for seven days. One of the men was too weak to walk when help arrived.

The men were brought to Jamaica for medical attention and crew members gave them $300 to buy food and clothes after they were released from a hospital. The cruise line says the rescue was "even more remarkable" because the ship was not meant to be in the area at the time, NBC News reports. It was originally bound for Cuba but changed course to Ocho Rios, Jamaica after a huge storm in the area last week. "Pure luck, aligning of the stars, God, whatever you choose to believe, the facts are we would NOT have been in that area at the time had we not switched to go to Ocho Rios," says James Van Fleet, the cruise line's chief meteorologist, who tweeted photos of the rescue. (A teenager with one of the "loneliest jobs" survived 49 days adrift near Guam.)

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