By Cailey Rizzo
March 06, 2019
Princess Cruise and U.S. Coast Guard rescues plane passengers in Caribbean
Credit: Courtesy of Princess Cruise Line

A cruise ship rescued a pilot and his passenger from the Caribbean after their plane crashed in the sea on Tuesday.

Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess was sailing towards St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands when the captain announced that the vessel was changing course to rescue two people stranded off the coast of Grand Turk. The rescue mission was captured by passengers aboard the ship.

The two people stranded in the Caribbean were a pilot and his passenger of a private light aircraft. They were floating in a lifeboat and waiting for rescue. After the crash, the pilot contacted the U.S. Coast Guard who sent a rescue plane and alerted the cruise ship.

Video of the rescue shows a dinghy leaving the Regal Princess, retrieving the stranded pair and bringing them back to safety. In a statement, the cruise line confirmed that “upon request from the U.S. Coast Guard Regal Princess assisted in the rescue of two U.S. citizens whose private aircraft went down southeast of Grand Turk in the Caribbean Sea.”

“They recovered them with no injuries reported,” Coast Guard spokesman Seaman Erik Villa Rodriguez told Miami New Times.

“Both people rescued are now safely onboard Regal Princess and the ship continues her sailing to the next port of call Charlotte Amalie where the arrival time is not expected to be affected,” the cruise line said in a statement.

The ship is continuing on its seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise. It is scheduled to return to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on March 10.

It’s not uncommon that cruise ships pick up people who are stranded at sea. If a cruise ship receives a distress call from the coast guard, the captain is obligated to make every effort to make rescue. In December, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship rescued two sailors who had been adrift in the Caribbean for 20 days.