Coast Guard suspends search for Royal Caribbean cruise ship employee who went overboard

The United States Coast Guard has suspended its search for a Royal Caribbean crew member who went overboard off the coast of Florida early on Thursday.

The 26-year-old employee, whose name was not released, was reportedly seen falling off the Majesty of the Seas by fellow crew members around 2:35 a.m., a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean told Fox News. Rescue efforts commenced immediately, and the Coast Guard was also notified, the cruise line added.

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“At 6:43 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard advised the ship that they would be assuming control of the search. The ship was then released from the search and able to continue to Port Everglades,” a spokesperson told Fox News. “Our Care Team is providing support to the crew member’s family and friends, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

The U.S. Coast Guard 7th District Southeast shared a news release Thursday morning, confirming that three crews were dispatched to search for the employee, who fell approximately 37 miles off the coast of Hillsboro Inlet in Pompano Beach.

On Friday morning, the Coast Guard confirmed the search had been suspended.

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“We’ve been in contact with the crewmember’s family throughout our search efforts and know this is a very difficult and painful time for them,” Cmdr. Jason Aleksak, Sector Miami chief of response stated in a subsequent news release. “Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make as first responders, and it is never made lightly.”

The ship, which was returning from a five-day cruise to the Bahamas, returned to Port Everglades later that morning.

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Thursday’s incident mirrors that of a similar situation from December, during which a 20-year-old Royal Caribbean cruise entertainer went missing after presumably going overboard on Christmas Day. The Coast Guard suspended the search days afterward.