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Rescue mission for missing cruise ship passenger who fell overboard suspended

Rescue mission for missing cruise ship passenger who fell overboard suspended

"I instantly felt sick to my stomach."

The search for a passenger who went overboard on a Royal Caribbean cruise two days before Christmas has been called off.

On 23 December at 7:17pm, the North Carolina Coast Guard received a call alerting them to a passenger having gone overboard from a Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas cruise ship.

The cruise was heading to the Bahamas and the passenger - aged 41-years-old but not publicly named - is reported as having fallen into the Atlantic Ocean just over 100 miles from the coast of Charleston.

The Coast Guard sent two crews to perform an aerial search to try and locate the passenger; the first, a C-130 airplane from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, which took off shortly after 11:00pm and the second, a C-130 from Clearwater, Florida.

Petty officer Vincent Moreno told The Post and Courier on December 24: "We’re just continuing to search. The Coast Guard never stops.

"The holidays don’t affect our hours."

The passenger was on a Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas cruise.
Getty Images/ Jeffrey Greenberg/ Universal Images

Colin Schappi - another passenger on the 'Eight Night Bahamas & Perfect Day Holiday Cruise' - told WCBD he first knew something was wrong when he heard crew members shouting at around 7:15pm.

He said he heard them exclaiming: "Oscar! Oscar! Oscar! Starboard!."

Jake Utzinger, aged 21, told The Post and Courier that an announcement was made by the captain at around 7:45pm.

He said: "I instantly felt sick to my stomach knowing that one of our fellow travelers had been lost at sea.

"It’s definitely going to be rough continuing this voyage knowing that a family is missing their loved one."

The search has since been called off for the passenger.
Getty Images/ Jeffrey Greenberg/ Universal Images Group

And the 41-year-old passenger currently remains missing, the US Coast Guard having now suspended its search too, according to Count On News 2.

The Coast Guard is reported as having searched for eight hours, covering over 1,625 square miles.

The ship's next stop is Port Canaveral and it's then set to return to Baltimore on Saturday (30 December).

It has a capacity for 2,000 guests and 700 crew members, measuring 915-foot long by 105-foot wide.

A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean Group told The Post and Courier: "The ship and crew immediately reported the incident to local authorities and launched a search and rescue mission.

"Out of privacy for the guest and their family, we have no additional details to share."

UNILAD has contacted Royal Caribbean Group for further comment.

Anyone with new information is asked to call the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Charleston at 843-740-7050.

Featured Image Credit: Colin Schappi

Topics: Christmas, News, Travel, Royal Caribbean