It was a dream vacation gone horribly wrong as 30-year-old Sarah Kirby went overboard. Thats right, she fell off the balcony of a luxury Carnival cruise ship into the ocean.
Kirby told INSIDE EDITION's Megan Alexander, "I kept praying, 'Please God, please don't leave me out here!' "
Just-released infrared video shows the shocking fall, and the ship kept right on sailing.
"It was an absolute miracle. I shouldn't have survived," said Kirby.
Sarah Kirby embarked on the cruise to celebrate her birthday in October of 2012. She recalled, "We were celebrating. It was a great adventure."
She was staying in a stateroom with a balcony when she went over.
"I remember leaning out over the railing to try to look at the ship and then next thing I remember is falling," she recalled.
She dropped two stories before careening off a lifeboat and then falling another five stories into the ocean. She was desperately trying to stay afloat as the ship sailed away.
"Panic. Pure terror," said Kirby.
Sarah admits being drunk from a night of celebrating when she went overboard.
INSIDE EDITION's Megan Alexander took a nightime plunge into the dark Atlantic to give us a sense of Sarah Kirby's terror. From the water, Alexander reported, "I have a little bit of light coming from our camera, but Sarah had nothing. Turn off the light and this is what she was dealing with...pitch black for two hours. I dont know how she survived."
Sarah Kirby said, "I felt hopeless. Helpless and hopeless. It's pitch black out there. There's no land. No lights."
She was also badly injured, bleeding into shark-infested waters, recalling, "I kept praying, 'please don't let me die, please don't let something eat me like a shark.' "
Back on board the Carnival ship Destiny, her traveling companion Rebecca was in hysterics.
Rebecca told Alexander, "I begged them to turn the ship around. I begged them."
Rebecca, who was in the cabin's bathroom and didn't see Kirby fall, says the captain was reluctant to veer off course and wanted to search the ship first because most missing people are found on board.
Carnival may not have known that its own surveillance cameras, from two angles, had caught Kirby's fall. But an infrared night vision camera might have helped her rescue.
INSIDE EDITION tried it when Megan Alexander was treading water in the dark. When we turned on an infrared camera made by Fleer, we could clearly spot her in the distance.
After 90 minutes the ship turned around and Kirby's prayers were finally answered. Her remarkable rescue was captured on cell phone video by several joyous passengers as a lifeboat was lowered to pluck her from the ocean.
Then, came this announcement from the Cruise Director: "Folks, I have some very good news. We have found the guest. We have pulled her from the water and we are now bringing her back aboard the vessel."
Kirby recalled, "I was crying and sobbing and said 'Thank you for not leaving me.' "
Despite her appreciation for being rescued, Sarah Kirby is now suing Carnival cruise lines.
A Carnival official told INSIDE EDITION: "It amazes me that someone would sue you after you successfully saved their life. Especially at night when the odds are against it."
Carnival also says Sarah Kirby's claims are "completely unsupported and contradicted by evidence in the case" and insist their crew performed admirably in saving her life. They also said "it is virtually impossible to fall off a cruise ship unless you jump overboard or are acting irresponsibly."