The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has suspended the search for a guest who went intentionally overboard from Carnival Elation over the weekend. The guest has not been recovered, as search efforts over more than 1,300 square miles failed to locate the missing male passenger.
The search has ended for the missing passenger from Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Elation, now identified as 30-year-old Jaylen Hill.
After thoroughly searching a total of 1,347 square miles in the vicinity of where Hill jumped from the ship, rescue crews were unable to locate the missing passenger. The search has been called off “pending any further developments,” the USCG has stated.
As with any overboard incident, a thorough investigation will be conducted to determine the circumstances of the event, including whether or not there may have been foul play or any safety malfunctions. Onboard security members have reviewed video footage of Hill jumping overboard, however, and it does appear to be intentional.
Various assets from the USCG were utilized in the search efforts, including the 87-foot cutter Tarpon from St. Petersburg, a Hercules C-130 aircraft from Clearwater, and an Ocean Sentry HC-144 plane from Miami. Each unit conducted multiple sweeps of the search area.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the Hill family,” said Petty Officer Eric Rodriguez, USCG District 7. “Our crews take our life saving mission very seriously. Any time we can’t bring a loved one home to their family is a pain we all feel.”
The decision to end a search and rescue operation is never an easy one, and depends on several factors. Weather conditions, the overall length of the search, number of search teams and vehicles, survivability assessments, and other factors are all taken into consideration.
Carnival Elation was not involved in the search efforts, as the overboard was not reported for several hours and the ship was already significantly far from the probable search area, en route back to its Jacksonville, Florida homeport. There was no impact on the ship’s return to Jacksonville or on the departure for the next sailing.
The 70,367-gross ton, Fantasy-class ship was finishing a 4-night sailing to The Bahamas when the overboard occurred, and has already departed on her next cruise, a 5-night Bahamas itinerary that will call on Nassau and Princess Cays.
Carnival Elation is not the only cruise ship to report an overboard situation so far in 2023. A guest went overboard from Carnival Magic in late May, and that search was sadly suspended after 60 hours with unsuccessful results.
Similarly, a guest overboard from Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas in late April was suspended after several days, roughly 500 miles south of Hawaii.
Some search missions do end on happier notes, however. On Sunday, June 25, 2023, a guest accidentally overboard from Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas was quickly rescued thanks to the fast actions of the crew.
Cruise Hive’s thoughts are with the Hill family and friends at this sad time.