The US Coast Guard has suspended its search for a 35-year-old man who went overboard from a cruise ship in the Atlantic Ocean this week, the military branch said Wednesday.
Ronnie Peale Jr., of Crimora, Virginia, went overboard on Monday, his partner and his mother told CNN. He fell from the Carnival Magic about 186 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida, the Coast Guard said.
Crews in aircraft and on ships searched more than 5,000 square miles for Peale, the Coast Guard said.
“The decision to suspend the active search efforts pending further development is never one we take lightly. We offer our most sincere condolences to Mr. Peale’s family and friends,” Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Hooper, a Coast Guard rescue mission coordinator, said.
Peale and his partner, Jennilyn Blosser, went on the cruise to celebrate her birthday, and it was his first time on a cruise, Blosser said. She went to bed Sunday night, and when she woke up on Monday around 11:30 a.m., she was unable to find her partner, she told CNN.
“When I couldn’t find him, I called his mom to ask if she had talked to him and she said she did not,” Blosser said Tuesday.
An initial review of closed circuit security footage “confirms that he leaned over the railing of his stateroom balcony and dropped into the water at approximately 4:10 am early Monday morning,” Carnival said.
The passenger’s companion reported him missing late Monday afternoon, the cruise line said.
The Carnival Magic left Norfolk, Virginia, on Thursday for a five-night sailing to the Bahamas, according to the cruise line’s website. The ship continued on its way to Norfolk after initial search and rescue efforts, at the advice of the Coast Guard, Carnival said.
Peale’s mother, Linda Peale, told CNN she had been watching his three dogs and grew concerned when he did not call to ask about them.
“Ronnie is in love with his dogs and he has been calling me three times a day to check on them. He did not call in the morning and when he did not call at lunchtime, I was very worried,” Linda Peale said on Tuesday.
Cruise officials informed Blosser that Peale was seen in surveillance footage early Monday going overboard, Blosser said.
Blosser described Peale as a social butterfly who mingled freely with other passengers on the ship.
“He really was the life of the party. He was all about socializing and making friends,” Blosser said.
Linda Peale described her son as a “wonderful” family man who loves music and his dogs.
“He loved being with his family and he had a willingness to help anyone who needed it,” she said.