The search for a 35-year-old man who fell overboard from a Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas cruise ship sailing 17 miles east of Turks and Caicos Islands has been suspended, U.S. Coast Guard officials said Saturday.
"We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones and all that have been affected by this tragedy," said Todd Cohheshall, Coast Guard 7th District’s chief of response management.
The incident took place at approximately 1 a.m. Friday and was captured on video and posted on YouTube by a passenger on board the ship. The Brazilian man, who has not been identified, can be seen in the video clinging on to a davit used to raise and lower the raft on the boat’s seventh deck while passengers and crew members try to pull the man back to safety. He loses his grip within moments into the video and falls into the water.
Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater HC-130 and MH-60 aircrews searched an area covering 931 square nautical miles Friday and into Saturday morning, officials said.
Coast Guard officials said the man “was spotted by Oasis of the Seas crew members intentionally going over the side of the ship,” and then jumped onto the seventh deck onto a lifeboat. The cruise ship launched two small boats to search for the man, who was last seen wearing a pink shirt and white shorts.
The Oasis of the Seas left Philipsburg, St. Maarten on Wednesday and reached its final stop at Port Everglades Saturday morning.