Army vet dies after falling off party cruise in Boston Harbor

A U.S. Army veteran was engaging in a “dramatic form of dangerous play” Saturday night before he fell off a party cruise in Boston Harbor and drowned, officials said.

The body of Aaron Dibella was recovered just before 1 a.m. Sunday, hours after Dibella went overboard on the Provincetown II ferry at Sector Boston, near Peddocks Island, Boston 25 News reported. His body was located about 45 feet into the water and 100 yards from where he went overboard.

"We still question that -- how did it happen?" Dibella’s uncle Lou Dibella told Boston 25 News. "Full of life, always active, never negative. Always looking at the bright side of things."

Dibella’s family said the 21-year-old was in the Army and had a big heart, WCVB reported.

Bay State Cruise Company, which operates the boat, said the veteran was doing “a type of vertical push up” from the vessel’s bulwark just minutes before he fell.

“A crew member had approached him and told him to climb down from having been sitting atop that same bulwark,” the company wrote in a statement. “Although the passenger initially appropriately responded to the warning of the crew member and climbed back down onto the deck, when the crewmember turned to go back into the interior of the vessel, the passenger started in on the even more dramatic form of dangerous play.”

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A security guard from the cruise ship jumped in the water moments after Dibella went overboard, but couldn’t locate him.

Matt Almon, Dibella’s friend, said he ran through the shop to look for help. He called the incident a “freak accident” and said he believes Dibella “slipped.”

"They threw out three little life-preserve saucers, but they didn't get too close to him," Almon recalled. "I just stood there screaming his name because I didn't know what was going to happen. I think he lost his strength to keep going."

Almon added: "I think if they [crewmembers] were properly trained, they would've been easily able to do a simple rescue."