Coast Guard suspends search for Carnival Cruise Line passenger who went overboard

A Carnival Cruise Line passenger went overboard on the line’s Carnival Magic ship on Monday.

Ronnie Peale, 35, went overboard 186 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The Coast Guard suspended its search Wednesday after crews searched over 5,171 square miles.

“The decision to suspend the active search efforts pending further development is never one we take lightly," Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Hooper, Coast Guard District Seven search and rescue mission coordinator, said in a news release. "We offer our most sincere condolences to Mr. Peale’s family and friends.”

“He was reported missing by his companion late Monday afternoon and an initial review of closed circuit security footage confirms that he leaned over the railing of his stateroom balcony and dropped into the water at approximately 4:10 a.m. Monday,” a Carnival spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The Coast Guard released the ship from search and rescue efforts and advised its captain to continue on to Norfolk, Virginia, the spokesperson said. The vessel was on a round-trip sailing from Norfolk to the Bahamas at the time of the incident, according to CruiseMapper.

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The Carnival cruise line ship Carnival Magic sits docked on April, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
The Carnival cruise line ship Carnival Magic sits docked on April, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

“The Carnival Care Team is providing support to the guest's companion and traveling party who are on board,” the spokesperson added.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Norfolk field office is investigating, with the help of other agencies, according to a spokesperson.

"The FBI typically has jurisdiction to investigate incidents on the high seas, and works closely with our partners in law enforcement and in the cruising industry to collect the evidence and facts of cases," the spokesperson said in an email, though they did not have additional details to share.

The incident comes after other overboard reports in recent months. The Coast Guard suspended search efforts for a Royal Caribbean International passenger who went overboard during a trans-Pacific sailing in April, and a woman died after going overboard on MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia vessel near Florida’s Port Canaveral in December.

Another Carnival passenger was rescued after going overboard from the line’s Carnival Valor ship in November.

Between 2009 and 2019, there were 212 overboard incidents around the world involving passengers and crew, according to statistics compiled for Cruise Lines International Association by consulting firm G.P. Wild (International) Ltd. Just 48 people were rescued.

Cruise ships have safeguards in place to keep passengers from going overboard and are required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 to have rails that are "located not less than 42 inches above the cabin deck."

Cmdr. Jason Kling, Detachment Chief at the U.S. Coast Guard's Cruise Ship National Center of Expertise, which conducts compliance inspections of cruise ships embarking passengers in U.S. ports or embarking U.S. passengers, told USA TODAY in March that many cruise ships complied with that even before the law was enacted.

Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Carnival cruise passenger goes overboard