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Search Called Off for Missing Passenger From Carnival Cruise Ship

Carnival magic
Carnival Magic (File image courtesy Carnival)

Published Jun 1, 2023 6:10 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Coast Guard has ended the search for a 35-year-old man who went overboard from a cruise ship about 175 nm east of Jacksonville, Florida. 

Carnival Cruise Lines contacted Coast Guard at 1830 on Monday and reported that a passenger went over the side of the cruise ship Carnival Magic.

The USCG dispatched three fixed-wing aircraft and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba to conduct search and rescue efforts. U.S. Navy ships and aircraft in the region also joined in the search. Carnival Magic was released from the search operation and continued on her commercial voyage.

Coast Guard crews searched for over 60 hours and covered more than 5,000 square miles before calling off the effort. 

“The Seventh Coast Guard District dispatched multiple search and rescue assets as soon as we were notified of the missing person. Our command center watchstanders provided search patterns to cutter crews and air crews who actively searched from Monday through Wednesday evening,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Hooper, search coordinator for Seventh District. “The decision to suspend the active search efforts pending further development is never one we take lightly. We offer our most sincere condolences to Mr. Peale’s family and friends.”

The victim, identified as Ronnie Peale, was on his first cruise with his fiancee, Jennilyn Michelle Blosser. 

"He was the life of the party. It just hurts too much to even type, let alone talk about it," Blosser told local outlet WTKR. "He loved the cruise life being able to drink, gamble, and socialize put him in his happy place."

After reviewing security footage, Carnival told media that Peale appears to have "leaned over the railing of his stateroom balcony and dropped into the water" at about 0410 hours on Monday morning. His companion reported him missing in the early afternoon, and the crew searched the ship. The USCG first learned of the MOB situation about 14 hours after Peale went over the side.