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Veendam Rescues Pilot Who Ditched His Plane in the Pacific Ocean

It’s another Holland America Line cruise ship to the rescue! Marking our third rescue this month, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, at 5:21 p.m. local time, Veendam answered a request for assistance from the United States Coast Guard to rescue Pilot Louis Morton who had ditched his single-engine Cirrus SR-22 after he experienced a mechanical issue with the fuel system. The ship was in the middle of an 18-day Circle Hawaii cruise that departed Jan. 20. The next call was Lahaina, Hawaii, and Louis was located approximately 225 nautical miles off the coast of Maui, Hawaii.

In partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, Veendam was able to successfully rescue Louis, who deployed the aircraft’s airframe parachute system and safely exited the plane into a life raft. Guests were excited to be able to witness such a rare and dramatic operation.

“Congratulations to the team on ms Veendam for coming to the aid of the pilot and for working together with the Coast Guard to conduct this successful rescue operation,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “January has been an eventful month for our ships with several rescues around the world, and we are honored to be able to assist in any distress situation when needed.”

Pilot Louis Morton, fourth from left, smiles on the bridge after his rescue, with Veendam's Captain Eric van der Wal, middle.

Pilot Louis Morton, fourth from left, smiles on the bridge after his rescue, with Veendam’s Captain Eric van der Wal, middle, and other officers and crew.




Holland America crewmembers brought him aboard Veendam and provided him food and accommodations. Louis, who was in good condition, disembarked today, Jan. 26, at Lahaina.

Watch the amazing landing and rescue unfold by clicking on the arrow!

Veendam comes to the rescue in this screen capture take from the video.

Veendam comes to the rescue in this screen capture take from the video.

Thanks to Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System for the video footage.

This is the third rescue at sea by a Holland America Line ship in 2015. On Jan. 3, ms Zuiderdam rescued eight crewmembers from a sinking vessel in the Caribbean, and Jan. 4 ms Zaandam came to the aid of seven stranded crewmembers at the Arctowski Polish research station at King George Island in Antarctica.

Photo credit: Ocean Imgaes


    I saw this rescue on National News and was wondering if it was (another) HAL rescue. Although no name showed, the colors looked familiar. Thanks for the confirmation. Another job well done.

  • agung wijaya

    Bravo HAL

  • Philip Kelly

    BIG Congratulations once again, HAL! We took a short cruise to Bermuda on the Veendam two years ago… our favourite ship so far! Now if she could only rescue us from this winter here… 😉

  • Bert Jansen

    Great job , well done!!!!!!!

  • PamPam

    Two thumbs up team!!!

  • Roberto Tan

    We salute to the Captain and crews. The best cruise line on this planet. Ever ready to saves life’s.

  • Nathalee

    Congrats HAL Veendam great job. . .

  • Norma

    That’s our girl!! Go HAL!

  • Elbert L.J. Bosma, MM, MA, MNI

    Congratulations Veendam Crew! Excellent job. Chapeau!

  • Allison (Cadman) Ramberg

    That was incredible! Gave me tingles! Great job crew of the ms Veendam! Love HAL

  • Kathy Colombo

    I am the mother of Lue Morton-the pilot. My husband and I are eternally grateful and appreciative of the entire crew-from his rescue, to his physical by your doctors, to his clothes(the only ones he had) being cleaned, being able to rest comfortably in a bed, with food and being cared for after a very traumatic event.
    Thank you all for being kind and considerate to our son!

  • Julie

    Kathy, we were happy to assist and thrilled that everyone worked out. We were in the right place at the right time, and it was our pleasure to look after him!

  • Donna Coomes

    My husband Michael and I were on that ship and watched the whole rescue. We were in cabin 550 and the rescue ship was brought up on cables right below our room. It was amazing.

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