A 41-year-old man on a Royal Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas is missing after falling overboard, officials said. The Coast Guard was alerted at 7:17 p.m. regarding the passenger who fell overboard approximately 127 miles east of Charleston, South Carolina, as reported by Petty Officer Vincent Moreno to The New York Post and Courier.
The person, whose identity remains undisclosed, fell from the 'Vision of the Seas' ship, prompting an extensive search-and-rescue operation throughout the night, as confirmed by the company. Although a large law enforcement effort was deployed to locate the missing passenger, the Coast Guard announced on Monday that the rescue mission had been terminated, according to WCBD.
Missing after Falling Overboard
"A guest went overboard from Vision of the Seas. The ship and crew immediately reported the incident to local authorities and launched a search and rescue mission," a company rep told The Post in an email.
"Out of privacy for the guest and their family, we have no additional details to share," the statement added Monday.
The Coast Guard initiated the search with a C-130 Hercules plane dispatched from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Another C-130 crew from Clearwater, Florida, later joined to relieve the initial team.
The rescue mission saw the cruise coming to a halt as a strobe lamp scanned the ocean for approximately six hours.
Despite the dedicated efforts of the crews, the person has not been sighted since being on board the Royal Caribbean ship on Sunday, which was identified as the '8 Night Bahamas & Perfect Day Holiday Cruise.'
Passengers shared that the cruise had departed from Baltimore on Friday.
No Clue, Search Operation Suspended
On Monday morning, the agency announced the suspension of the search efforts after scouring over 1,625 square miles for eight hours, as reported by WCBD.
Jake Utzinger, a 21-year-old film student from New Jersey on vacation with his girlfriend's family, recounted that he was in bed at around 7:45 p.m. when the captain announced a passenger had fallen overboard.
"I instantly felt sick to my stomach knowing that one of our fellow travelers had been lost at sea," Utzinger told the paper.
In response to the announcement, Utzinger, his girlfriend, and fellow passengers hurried to the pool deck to provide "an extra pair of eyes" to the search-and-rescue operation.
Another passenger, Colin Schappi, told WCBD that he heard the call "Oscar! Oscar! Oscar! Starboard!"—a signal to the crew indicating an overboard emergency—around 7:15 p.m. "We were wondering what was going on with that," he said.
"It's definitely going to be rough continuing this voyage knowing that a family is missing their loved one," Utzinger told the news outlet.
The next scheduled port of call for the 'Vision of the Seas' is Port Canaveral, Florida. The cruise is then expected to navigate through various destinations in the Bahamas before ending its journey and returning to Baltimore on Saturday.
The 'Vision of the Seas' is a 915-foot-long ship with a total capacity of 2,000 guests and 700 crew members. It made its first voyage in 1988, according to the Royal Caribbean website.