Coast Guard suspends search for missing cruise ship Carnival Fascination passenger

Southeastern Coast Guard NewsJACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Coast Guard has suspended the search for the missing Carnival Fascination cruise ship passenger, Wednesday afternoon. Search crews completed 24 search patterns covering 2,375 square miles over a 35 hour period.

Army Sgt. Ronald Kemp, 31, assigned to Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield in Fort Stewart, Ga., was reported overboard from the Carnival cruise ship Fascination Tuesday morning about 25 miles off New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Searches were conducted by: the 210-foot Coast Guard Cutter Resolute homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.; the 154-foot Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber, a Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter homeported in Miami; the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Shrike homeported in Port Canaveral, Fla.; a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from Coast Guard Station Ponce De Leon, Fla., and an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla.

An Air Force plane and two helicopters from Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Fla., also assisted with the search Tuesday night.

“The decision to suspend a search is always a difficult one for responders to make. Our deepest sympathies goes out to Mr. Kemp’s family and loved ones, “said Cmdr. James Rush, chief of response at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville.

Crewmembers aboard the Fascination reported witnessing Kemp go overboard Tuesday morning and immediately reported the incident to watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville command center.

The Fascination departed the cruise terminal in Jacksonville, Fla., at approximately 5 p.m., Monday en route to Key West Fla.

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