A 22-year old male passenger with special needs on the Carnival Cruise Line ship Fantasy has been missing since Sunday evening and likely went overboard.
The 2,675-passenger ship left Mobile, Ala., on Saturday, Dec. 15, and was sailing to its first stop of Progreso, Mexico on the five-night cruise when the passenger was reported missing. Carnival said he was part of a group of nine people traveling with three chaperones.
Once at port Monday in Progreso, Mexican authorities conducted a search of the ship, according to the Facebook page Cruise Life Cargo. The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that the Mexican Navy is handling the search.
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“The security team reviewed closed circuit television footage of the ship’s perimeter multiple times,” said a spokesman for Carnival Cruise Line in a statement. “While in port in Progreso on Monday, the Mexican Navy provided a search-and-rescue canine to assist in the search, but there was not any conclusive result as to his whereabouts.”
The Carnival Fantasy cruise ship continued on its regularly scheduled itinerary arriving in Cozumel, Mexico on Tuesday.
This passenger is the fourth person to go missing on a cruise ship in less than a month. On Friday, 26-year-old Thomas McElhany went overboard the Carnival Victory and was never found. On Dec. 8, a 69-year-old woman from Holland went overboard the MSC Preziosa; the Coast Guard did not find her. On Nov. 22, a 27-year-old crew member on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas disappeared from the ship and was never found. In all three cases, the disappearances went undiscovered for several hours, until the ships reached port.
A 2010 federal law requires cruise ships to have technology to detect when passengers go overboard as soon as it happens “to the extent that such technology is available. Most cruise lines say the technology on the market is unreliable and causes too many false positives, so most ships do not have it. Carnival would not confirm whether the Carnival Fantasy has overboard detection technology.
Monday, a jury found Royal Caribbean Cruise Line not responsible in a 2016 incident when a passenger went overboard.