Carnival Jumper Keeping Quiet About Ordeal

March 20, 2007
Glory Passenger Went Overboard After Argument
Carnival Glory Passenger Rescued After Going Overboard

Cruise Critic is just as curious as you -- and about 1,000 media outlets -- how Michael Mankamyer jumped overboard from Carnival Glory last week and survived. Since being rescued on Friday 30 miles off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale, Mankamyer's been at Jackson Memorial Hospital with family, but has, alas, remained mum about exactly what happened, according to news reports.

Though there's still mystery surrounding the circumstances, we learned a lot from Cruise Critic members yesterday. We thought we'd suss out media reports today. What did we find? While the details continue to titillate (read on), there's not much more to report aside from the fact that the guy survived. Still, check this out:

Mankamyer spent nearly eight hours treading water in the Atlantic Ocean without a life vest or other emergency equipment, and during that time the outlook was grim. Falling into the water from 60 ft., as Mankamyer did, can be like hitting concrete, according to CBS News. In fact, when the Coast Guard brought Mike Mankamyer back ashore, his sister was already planning his funeral. "It's pretty miraculous that he's still alive," U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Dana Warr told South Florida's Sun Sentinel. "It's not that it doesn't happen, but it's few and far between when we're trying to find someone that jumps from a cruise ship."

One explanation for his surprise survival could be those extra cruise pounds. Richard Rotundo, a professor at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, told the Sun Sentinel that Mankameyer, a heavyset man weighing about 300 pounds, was more likely to float than someone leaner. Also, body fat acts as a layer of insulation in the water.

Sal Wega, Mankamyer's 16-year old godson, who was sharing a cabin with him, told WESH 2 News in Port Canaveral that ship security initially believed he pushed Mankamyer overboard. "They handcuffed me, they bumped my head -- I have a big bump on my head and they tried to accuse me of murder," he is quoted as saying. Wega said his godfather jumped from the balcony when he went to answer the door; neighbors had called security after hearing a scuffle: "He starts hitting himself and punching me and I hit him back." Wega said Mankamyer had a few drinks at dinner and got upset that Wega wanted to go explore the ship.

When the Coast Guard finally spotted Mankamyer waving his hands, he'd suffered a collapsed lung from the fall and had mild hypothermia but was otherwise fine. "I tapped him on the shoulder and gave him a thumbs up and he said, 'Thank you,'" Coast Guard Petty Officer Vincent Martin told CBS News.

Although Mankamyer's saying little to the public now, a hospital spokeswoman told the Bradenton Herald that Mankamyer is negotiating exclusive interviews with "Good Morning America" and "Inside Edition."

We can't wait to see those clips. In the meantime, check out CBS News' video coverage -- and tell us what you think at; put "treading water" in the subject line.

--by Melissa Baldwin, Senior Editor