Texas woman taken to SWFL hospital after being airlifted from cruise ship

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Cruise rescue
Jones being pulled into a U.S Coast Guard helicopter on July 8, 2022. (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard)

A Texas woman is recovering in a Southwest Florida hospital after she and her son were airlifted from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday.

The United States Coast Guard shared the video below of the mother, son and a nurse being pulled into a Coast Guard helicopter.

They were rushed to Gulf Coast Medical Center in Lee County after Tina Ford woke up with leg pain about 90 miles west of the keys.

“It was really a lot to go through that. I mean, I’m still going through it now,” said Ford.

Ford and her son Julius Jones had spent nearly a week cruising on the Carnival Dream through the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.

On Friday, about 90 miles off the coast of key west, Ford woke up with pain in her leg.

“I had a blood clot in my femoral artery. It was blocking the flow to my left leg completely. So, my left leg had swollen up really large. And it wasn’t getting any blood flow to it,” said Ford.

Rescue crews arrived above the cruise ship and lifted her and her son safely into the helicopter.

“It was both our first time on a helicopter, and not just on a helicopter, but being lifted up from a moving ship,” said Jones.

They were taken to Gulf Coast Medical Center, where Ford had successful surgery to remove the clot from her leg.

The family said they are thankful for the Coast Guard and all first responders assisting that day.

“They were awesome. Excellent. You know, hovering a helicopter over a moving ship and lifting us off,” said Jones.

A nurse from the ship joined them in the helicopter on the way to the hospital.

“She was great through the whole thing. She was a little scared at first, but she did well,” said Ford.

Jones hopes the ride home is less eventful. “Hopefully, we can make it home without a hitch. And on the road to recovery,”

The mother and son said the rest of their family stayed on the cruise ship.

As soon as Ford is discharged, she and her son are headed back home to Killeen, Texas.

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