It was first circulated on Tuesday that a passenger had jumped overboard from the Carnival Fascination cruise ship not far off the Florida coast.
It has now been revealed that the passenger was 31 year-old, Army Sgt. Ronald Kemp, a 3rd Infantry Division soldier.
The Coast Guard has searched roughly 2,375 square miles of ocean to try and find Sgt Kemp but Petty Officer 3rd Class, Jessica Potter, spokeswoman with the Coast Guard’s 7th District public affairs office noted that “all possible options have been exhausted for finding the Army Sgt”.
“Crew members aboard the Fascination reported witnessing Kemp go overboard Tuesday morning and immediately reported the incident to watch standers in the Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville command center.
No suicide note was found, and the Coast Guard had not determined Wednesday evening if foul play or alcohol had been a factor”. Potter said.
Carrie Hyman, a spokeswoman for Carnival said “crew members tossed life rings into the water immediately after the incident at roughly 2am. The ship stopped and redirected back to where Kemp went overboard, about 25 miles off the coast of New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
After the Coast Guard performed its initial search and rescue operation, the Fascination was released and continued in with its scheduled cruise”.
Army records indicate Kemp is an artilleryman assigned to the 3rd ID’s 4th Infantry Bridge Combat Team at Fort Stewart and had previously been deployed twice to Iraq.
It is not known if he was on leave for holiday and Carnival will not comment on whether or not he was travelling alone or with others.
The search for Sgt Kemp was suspended on Wednesday.