Coast Guard suspends search for Carnival Cruise passenger who went overboard
The United States Coast Guard suspended its search on Sunday for a 26-year-old male Carnival Cruise Victory passenger who went overboard approximately 35 miles south of Islamorada, Fla. on Friday. Reps for the cruise line told Fox News on Saturday afternoon that “the facts surrounding this unfortunate incident indicate it was an intentional act.”
On Dec. 14, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Victory guest Thomas McElhany went overboard at some point during the ship's voyage back to Miami after a four-night cruise that made stops in Key West and Cozumel.
Kimberly Wyatt, a passenger on board, posted an alleged photo of the missing man to Twitter that day, as shared updates from cruise ship officials as they came through.
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“His photo is being displayed on the television on the cruise ship. Security also conducted a room by room, floor by floor search,” she tweeted.
“Cameras confirm the passenger went overboard. It’s unknown if he jumped or fell,” she then wrote.
Wyatt also shared an image of a letter from Carnival to passengers aboard the Victory regarding their search and rescue efforts for the missing guest.
The Coast Guard’s Air Station Miami MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry and Coast Guard Cutter Charles David, Jr. (WPC-1107) were active in the search, as per the Sentinel. The rescue mission continued overnight and into Saturday night, the Miami Herald reported.
On Saturday afternoon, reps for the cruise line returned Fox News’ request for comment with the following statement:
“Carnival Victory arrived at PortMiami at approximately 3:00 pm on December 14, 2018, after the U.S. Coast Guard released the ship from the search and rescue efforts to locate a 26-year-old male guest who went overboard from the ship early that morning,” a spokesperson said via email.
“Our CareTeam is providing support to the guest’s family. Sadly, all the facts surrounding this unfortunate incident indicate it was an intentional act,” they added. “Carnival Victory departed PortMiami [Friday night] on its next cruise as scheduled, albeit with a late departure.”
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According to the Victory's official web page, the 101,509-gross-ton Victory hasthe capacity to accommodate up to 2,764 guests and 1,110 onboard crew. It departs from Miami for trips to the Bahamas, the Caribbean and Cuba.