Man Reported Missing After Falling Overboard on Royal Caribbean Cruise

A 41-year-old man has been reported missing after falling overboard from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship en route to the Bahamas, according to official sources. The U.S. Coast Guard was alerted about the incident at 7:17 p.m., with the man reported to have fallen off the ship approximately 127 miles east of Charleston, South Carolina, as reported by Petty Officer Vincent Moreno.

The man was a passenger on the Vision of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The ship’s crew promptly reported the incident to local authorities and initiated a search and rescue operation. The company has refrained from sharing further details out of respect for the privacy of the guest and his family.

In response to the incident, the Coast Guard dispatched a C-130 Hercules plane from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and another C-130 crew from Clearwater, Florida, to relieve the first. Despite an extensive search covering more than 1,625 square miles over eight hours, the search was suspended on Monday morning.

The missing man was a passenger on the “8 Night Bahamas & Perfect Day Holiday Cruise,” which had departed from Baltimore on Friday. Fellow passengers reported that the captain announced a passenger had fallen overboard around 7:45 p.m. Jake Utzinger, a 21-year-old film student from New Jersey, described feeling “sick to his stomach” upon hearing the news.

Passengers, including Utzinger, his girlfriend, and others, rushed to the pool deck to assist in the search-and-rescue effort. Another passenger, Colin Schappi, reported hearing the announcement “Oscar! Oscar! Oscar! Starboard!”—a signal to the crew indicating an overboard emergency—around 7:15 p.m.

The ship halted, deployed a strobe lamp, and conducted a search for the passenger for six hours before resuming its journey around 2 a.m. The Vision of the Seas, a 915-foot-long ship with a capacity of 2,000 guests and 700 crew members, is scheduled to stop next at Port Canaveral, Florida, before sailing throughout the Bahamas and returning to Baltimore on Saturday.

This incident follows several others involving Royal Caribbean passengers going overboard. In August, a passenger fell overboard from the Wonder of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, off the coast of Cuba. Earlier that month, an Indian woman died after apparently jumping off the Spectrum of the Seas. In June, a 42-year-old woman was rescued after falling off the Mariner of the Seas near Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

According to a 2020 study commissioned by the industry trade group Cruise Lines International Association, an average of 19 people go overboard on cruise ships each year, with only about four being rescued.