Norwegian Cruise Line and the Port of New Orleans recognized the quick actions of 16-year-old Alex Giffel of Baton Rouge, LA and Norwegian Spirit’s rescue team this past Sunday in a ceremony on the ship in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Giffel was starting a cruise vacation with his family on Sunday, June 12, 2011, onboard Norwegian Spirit when he saw a fellow passenger go overboard into the Mississippi River. Giffel reacted immediately by throwing a nearby life ring to the person while his 21-year-old cousin, Tyler Giffel, alerted the crew. Norwegian Spirit’s rescue team quickly dispatched a rescue boat into the river and rescued the passenger, bringing him back on board to safety.
In Sunday’s ceremony, Captain Evans Hoyt thanked Giffel and as a token of appreciation presented him with the same life ring that he threw to the fellow guest. Both the line and the Port of New Orleans also gave him plaques of appreciation.
“Some of us train all our whole lives to respond in an emergency and others are thrust into the situation. In either case, it comes down to the individual having a moment to respond and make the right call,” said Captain Hoyt. “The Giffel family can be proud of the quick response by Alex and Tyler, just as the Spirit team is proud of all the responders onboard whose professionalism and quick response resulted in a life being saved.”
The ceremony, which was attended by the Giffel family, representatives from the Port of New Orleans, and the ship’s senior officers, also recognized Norwegian Spirit’s rescue team for their life-saving efforts. The group concluded the day with a lunch in Cagney’s Steakhouse.