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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pride of America crew responds quickly to 'man overboard'

By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Crew members fished a fellow crew member from Hawaiian waters this morning.

Brett Aubrey / IntersiteImaging.com

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Brett Aubrey / IntersiteImaging.com

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Brett Aubrey / IntersiteImaging.com

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A crewman on the Pride of America fell overboard this morning about 13 hours after the cruise ship left Honolulu Harbor and was quickly picked up by crew members in a rescue boat.

The Coast Guard was notified of the accident by Pride of America crew and classified the incident as a "self rescue."

Because the Coast Guard was not directly involved, Petty Officer Anthony Soto said he had no other details, such as the condition of the crewman.

But passenger Brett Aubrey, a professional photographer and former member of the Canadian Navy, took pictures of the rescue.

Aubrey, 63, is traveling alone from Canada through Australia and Asia. He was on the Pride of America's Promenade Deck around 8:30 a.m. today when he heard the announcement, "Code Oscar, Code Oscar."

"Then I saw a whole lot of people scrambling," Aubrey said. "I looked out and did, in fact, see a man overboard."

Crew members cleared the promenade deck and Aubrey went to his cabin, where he photographed the rescue, which he estimated lasted 15 to 18 minutes.

"Everything seemed to go smoothly," Aubrey said. "They got the guy on board quickly. I thought they did a great job, I really did."

Officials with Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line, which operates the Pride of America, did not immediately return calls.

After the rescue, Aubrey said the ship's captain used the ship's public address system to tell passengers: "This kind of thing is unfortunate. But it does happen. We picked him up safely."

Aubrey did not know the Pride of America's position when the crewman went overboard, but said the ship was heading north after leaving Honolulu Harbor Saturday at 7 p.m.

In his eight years in the Canadian navy, Aubrey served on an aircraft carrier, a destroyer, an ocean escort and a submarine and saw only one sailor fall overboard during his career.

"Here, we're on board for just over 13 hours," Aubrey said, "and we get one."