(RightWing.org) – A recent study published by the Cruise Lines International Association showed an average of 19 instances of a person falling overboard from a cruise ship annually. Only 28.2% of the incidents resulted in a successful rescue. Sadly, recent news reports indicate that a man is assumed dead after falling off a Royal Caribbean Group (RCG) ship heading from South Carolina to the Bahamas on a holiday cruise.
On December 24, The US Coast Guard’s (USCG’s) Miami-based 7th District headquarters posted a statement on its X/Twitter account confirming that aircrews were searching for a man who fell off the Vision of the Seas, a 915-foot RCG cruise ship. The notice advised that the USCG released an “urgent information maritime broadcast” providing additional information on the rescue effort.
Coast Guard crews searched more than 1,625 square miles and 8 hours.
Anyone with new information is asked to call @USCG Sector Charleston: 843-740-7050
— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) December 25, 2023
Roughly nine hours later, the USCG issued a final update announcing that officials had suspended their search efforts for the 41-year-old man. The statement advised that rescue workers had spent eight hours searching more than 1,625 square miles of ocean.
Charleston-based newspaper, The Post and Courier, published an article providing additional details regarding the tragic incident. Reports indicate that officials from the cruise ship contacted the USCG’s North Carolina command center to advise that a passenger went overboard about 127 miles east of Charleston.
The USCG sent a four-engine turboprop C-130 transport aircraft from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, to the area to search for the fallen passenger. It later dispatched a second plane from Clearwater, Florida, to relieve the first one and continue the search and rescue mission.
Fellow passenger Jake Utzinger told The Post and Courier that he heard the captain announce that a passenger had fallen overboard at about 7:45 in the evening. He said he “instantly felt sick to his stomach” at the prospect of a person being “lost at sea.” Utzinger said he and his girlfriend accompanied other passengers to the cruise ship’s upper deck to serve as “extra pairs of eyes.”
Vision of the Seas cruise members reportedly lowered a strobe light to assist the search but abandoned their efforts about six hours later.
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