Man Overboard: Cruising Under the Influence

Tim Spears fell 10 stories into the pitch black, and was abandoned in the Gulf of Mexico.
6:04 | 01/20/12

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Transcript for Man Overboard: Cruising Under the Influence
Here's a man overboard. It's. Show us try to rescue boat searches the dark scene. Moments later. -- right there. A man after police were three hours is pulled from the water alive. -- more than just cruise ships here floating cities but no one fears falling off a city. The same can't be said for these colossal vessels. The numbers are foggy but some estimate that every two weeks someone goes overboard. 22 known cases last year most simply vanished. Two were found dead in four lived to tell their story passengers like ten seniors what's the last thing you remember. Last -- our members looking for my friend in the casino. It's 2003. Aboard carnival's celebration cruise ship. As in many of these cases -- Sears then 31 has had too much to drink. That's the last detail he remembers before falling ten stories into the Gulf of Mexico fifty miles offshore. I'm coming soon in the little water in -- and there's no ship around and -- told told darkness. Pitch black. The middle of the ocean. Describe that sensation from. How in the hell that I get here -- mean to garrison and that was my that was my very first thought was how in the world that I end up here in the a lot of Arnold Shapiro. Little hero who volunteer -- when you see a few varying lights lay off in the distance and that's. Fairly quickly didn't realize or didn't have any pants and shoes. Had -- -- boxers and -- sweatshirt. No one knows Tim is missing. But he is not alone. I can actually remember looking around and seen in just a little Green bluish small creatures jump around and are taught -- us from -- I just remember. Stopping. And national Wallace's amazing. -- movements were probably activating phosphorous and algae. For fourteen hours in shark infested waters ten -- former army paratrooper manages to stay afloat until his mind and body. Says -- I was tired and so I made piece of data close my eyes and started going down in the water take -- -- and criminals and emblems. And -- fox went through my head I was ready for it to be over. -- says he starts to sink into the darkness prevent. Something happens. A light of hope. That gives seniors a renewed determination. My eyes open. Swim back to -- for the water. Decided it was snows in the -- For three more hours -- struggles alone until he thinks he sees a ship on the horizon waves. -- storm. Up and down I had had lost my glasses of course couldn't see you. -- every primal instinct to survive team swings towards the -- screaming for help. After seventeen hours a cargo ship headed for Texas plucks him out of the water I was asking god to send any ship here any ship rescued me. And it just did from -- two years. Bruising years from the -- vacation contends. Michael -- a spokesman for the largest cruise line trade association. And he may be right statistically. It is safer cruising men walking across the street. That seems like it's pretty good odds for this not to the families that are left without their loved one. Twelve years ago -- -- -- son Jimmy was lost at sea. On a carnival cruise in the Caribbean since then she's been linking families who have lost loved ones. It's like a family a group of us now they have this experience and we have no -- answers. No one -- dance from. No one should leave on -- vacation cruise ship that never come back. There have been well known cases of the vanished in 2005. George Smith. The -- -- who disappeared on a cruise leaving behind a pool of drive global what do you think happened here rather than my brother was murdered. The case remains as cold as the C. His body never found. Other stories of suspected foul play have received fewer headlines. 2004 and -- -- -- on a cruise to Mexico with her parents and daughter 1 evening they discovered she was missing. Ship's crew page turning rule when we heard that -- I knew something from. My heart just -- I just. I can't. On the ship's third deck your daughter's -- and overturned drink were found next to the -- from the time. Did you say my daughter's -- Do they stop the ship. -- at least. Listen to this full speed ahead and do they release rescue boats into the water -- rescue -- were released. At what point did the cruise lines seem to. Take this situation seriously as a potential crime and not just they dropped purse and drink. I think my estimation they never did this ship. Was searched from top to bottom and eventually the Coast Guard was called in. To -- 833 -- its. They did not. -- disappearance remains an unsolved mystery. 2007. Profoundly reached an out of court confidential settlement -- carnival cruise line. Before her family there will never be closure only that bitter memories of what was lost at sea. Very difficult. -- -- on vacation for people who come back with three. Two and a half years ago and that's father Wally died. His wife says it was of a broken heart.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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