A father traveling with his family has gone missing from a cruise ship sailing between New Orleans and Jamaica and the Coast Guard has activated a 200-mile search area in hopes of finding the missing passenger.
The Carnival Glory in the Miami on June 2, 2018. AFP via Getty Images
Tyler Barnett of Houma, Louisiana, was last seen onboard just after midnight on Monday, the Coast Guard reported, after the ship left New Orleans but before its next scheduled stop in Montego Bay on Wednesday. Dirlean Tate Mason, Barnett’s grandmother, told NBC News his passenger card was last used at the ship’s casino and then later at his cabin door, but that his phone was in his room and his bed was not slept in. Mason said she did not think Barnett would take his own life, and there is no security footage of anyone going overboard. Natalia Rodrigues, a public relations manager for Carnival Cruise Line, said a team is “supporting the missing guest’s family on board” and the ship is scheduled to dock in Montego Bay as scheduled Wednesday. The Coast Guard was forced to temporarily suspend its efforts overnight due to extreme weather, but it resumed Tuesday morning. Petty Officer Jose Hernandez on Tuesday afternoon said the Coast Guard has searched 3,600 square nautical miles in the search for Barnett but that crews are battling “very challenging search conditions” including 8- to 12-foot swells, limited visibility and gale force winds.
Barnett was traveling with family aboard the Carnival Glory ship, a 13-deck, 110,000-ton boat with the capacity to carry 2,980 passengers. There have been several instances of people going overboard on the ship, including a 35-year-old who jumped into the water near Florida in 2007 and was rescued eight hours later. A 65-year-old woman was found dead after jumping overboard in 2015, and another passenger, a 21-year-old student, was never found after falling overboard south of the Bahamas that same year.
Passengers rarely go overboard on cruise ships, but it does happen. Florida Today reported that 386 passengers have gone overboard from cruises and ferries since 2000, and cruise passengers or crew went overboard 212 times between 2009 and 2019, according to the Cruise Lines International Association. Of those 212, only 48 were rescued. Cat Bigney, a survival expert who has consulted for National Geographic, told Business Insider there are a number of obstacles that make survival difficult for people who go overboard: It’s easy to be injured in the fall itself, it’s hard to see or hear a single person in the vast ocean, rough conditions can make it hard to stay above water, predators exist in parts of the ocean and dehydration and hypothermia happen quickly.
20. James Michael Grimes survived in the Gulf of Mexico for 20 hours after going overboard the Carnival Valor cruise ship last November. He said he spent hours treading water while fending off ocean dwellers and was ultimately spotted by the crew of a bulk carrier vessel before being rescued by the Coast Guard.
There have been several high-profile cruise ship disappearances that were never solved. A British crew member of the Disney Wonder ship, Rebessa Coriam, has been missing for more than 12 years. She was last seen on CCTV footage in the crew lounge onboard the ship in March of 2011, but was not found anywhere onboard the ship following her disappearance and there is no evidence she went overboard. The investigation into her case has been criticized by the public and her family. Chris Matheson, a former member of British Parliament, said in 2015 her case “smells like a crime has taken place.” Amy Lynn Bradley famously went missing during a Caribbean cruise when she was 23 years old in 1998. Her father awoke one morning to find her missing and investigators have rejected claims she may have fallen overboard due to her history as a strong swimmer and no sign of her body in the water. She was never found, though several people have reported sightings, including a U.S. Navy soldier who said Bradley approached him at a brothel asking for help. Merrian Carver was 40 when she went missing on a seven-day Royal Caribbean cruise in 2004 and her father later founded the International Cruise Victims organization. He claims Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises tried to cover up his daughter’s disappearance and worked against his investigators in the wake of the incident. Jeffrey Maltzman, Royal Caribbean’s attorney, told ABC News in 2009 there was no evidence of a cover-up.
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