Coast Guard suspends search for missing cruise ship passenger

TAMPA, Fla. – The Coast Guard has suspended its search at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday for a missing 18-year-old man that reportedly went overboard from a cruise ship about 150 miles southwest of Tampa.

The Coast Guard searched an area of nearly 5,300 square miles for Bruce Okrepki, from Hammond, La., who reportedly went overboard from the cruise ship Carnival Fantasy about 9:45 p.m. Sunday.

O’krepki was reported missing to search-and-rescue coordinators at the Seventh Coast Guard District in Miami by the Carnival Fantasy at about 10 p.m. Sunday.

“After an exhaustive search effort to find Bruce O’krepki, we have made the difficult decision to suspend our active search efforts,” said Capt. Drew Pearson, the Seventh Coast Guard District’s chief of search and rescue. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Assisting in the search were:

  • An HC-130 Hercules search plane from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
  • An HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater.
  • An HU-25 Falcon search plane from Coast Guard Air Station Miami
  • An HU-25 Falcon search plane from Aviation Training Center Mobile, Al.
  • An HC-144 Ocean Sentry search plane from Aviation Training Center Mobile.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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