Houma man jumped off Carnival cruise ship deck into Gulf, officials say

Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 9:45 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2023 at 5:37 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Line said Tuesday (Nov. 14) that video evidence shows the man declared missing from the Carnival Glory “jumped from the ship’s deck.”

According to a Carnival statement. ship security officials spotted the man -- identified by family members as Tyler Lee Barnett of Houma -- on the ship’s surveillance video. They say he climbed onto a lifeboat and jumped from the ship’s Deck 4 Monday around 1:40 a.m.

“Only on Tuesday were we advised of the possibility of him wearing a different shirt, which allowed our security team to change the profile of the guest as we searched onboard video,” the statement said.

Barnett’s sister on the cruise ship said that he was last seen Sunday at 11:40 p.m. and that an onboard search started Monday around 7 a.m.

In an interview Tuesday, Barnett’s mom, Elisha Reid said, “It has destroyed us and it will never be the same. I have a higher power that is God and it is with his mercy and grace, I believe, that he will bring my son home to me, no matter the circumstances.”

Reid described her son as an avid fisherman, attracted to water. He’s also the father of 3-year old twin girls. Reid said she is heartbroken to know that her granddaughters lost their father.

“I was very proud of him. He really surprised me,” Reid said. “He kept them very private and was very protective of them.”

Following the new statement from Carnival, Reid later told Fox 8 that she believes “the footage shows he slipped off one of the lifeboats because he (had) been drinking.”

Reid continued, “Still pray that they can find his body before the creatures of the sea get him. I want to be able to bury my baby boy. The only way I will have peace with him lost at sea is he loved the water and he loved to fish. I can handle knowing he is where he loved to be, on the water And he is with the fish he loved to catch.”

The United States Coast Guard said it dispatched aircraft that searched a 200-square-mile area of the Gulf near SouthWest Pass for several hours Monday, without results. Throughout the search, the Coast Guard faced treacherous conditions.

“The cloud ceiling being as low as it is in some places, it is 500 feet above the sea level,” said Petty Officer III Class Anthony Randisi. “Between that, and we’ve got 8- to 12-foot seas out there, and gale force (wind) warnings.”

A post from Dirlean Mason identified Barnett as her grandson and said, “We are holding on to hope and prayer that he will be found safe. Our hearts are breaking. I can’t believe this is happening.”

Carnival said it is providing assistance to the missing guest’s family still on board.

The Carnival Glory left port in New Orleans on Sunday on a weeklong cruise with planned stops in Montego Bay (Jamaica) on Wednesday, Grand Cayman Island on Thursday and Cozumel (Mexico) on Friday before returning to New Orleans next Sunday (Nov. 19). The cruise line says the Carnival Glory will arrive in Montego Bay as planned.

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