A woman tells Scripps News Norfolk that she is the fiancé of a man who went overboard a Carnival Cruise Line, and has given us more details about the incident.
Carnival Cruise Line reported a man went overboard on one of its cruise ships around 4 a.m. Monday.
Jennilyn Michelle Blosser says that man who went overboard is her longtime fiancé, Ronnie Lee Peale Jr.
The ship, Carnival Magic, departed Norfolk, Virginia, on May 25 and headed to the Bahamas. It returned to Norfolk on the morning of Tuesday, May 30, while the search effort continued.
The Coast Guard says it is searching for the man after falling overboard off the coast of Florida. Crews say he went overboard from the cruise ship 186 miles east of Jacksonville.
Peale was reported missing by a travel companion late Monday afternoon, Carnival Cruise Line confirmed to Scripps News Norfolk Monday night.
Blosser had this to say about her fiancé when asked about the incident:
"He was the life of the party. It just hurts too much to even type, let alone talk about it," she explained. "He loved the cruise life being able to drink, gamble, and socialize put him in his happy place. This was his first cruise and I’m sure he would have been willing to do one monthly."
A spokesperson said, "...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."
The USCG released the ship from search and rescue efforts and told the Carnival Magic's captain to continue on its way to Norfolk.
After Carnival Magic returned to Norfolk on Tuesday morning, some passengers told Scripps News Norfolk they heard cruise personnel asking for the man over the intercom several times, but they weren't sure why or how the man was missing.
"There was a security team storming each deck, each floor, concerned. But eventually, they let everybody know that he wasn't found," said passenger Leevon Porter.
Porter and Symone Stewart, another passenger, said Carnival Magic staff didn’t alert them about the man going overboard. They said instead, they learned the man went overboard through a Facebook comment published by Blosser.
"There was a Facebook page for the cruise and she put it on there," they said. "But Carnival didn't say anything about it."
A lot of the passengers who interacted with the man who went overboard described him as a great, fun guy.
"People say he has a great spirit, he was fun, he was having a blast," one passenger told Scripps News Norfolk.
Other passengers say this cruise went through rough waters and was extremely rocky. Now they wonder if anything more can be done to ensure guest safety.
"If they could do a better job of maybe putting the railings up to ensure this doesn't happen again, because when you have your family and your friends, you want to make sure they're safe and secure," said Carnival Magic passenger Paul Brinson.
Carnival Cruise Line said its Care Team is providing support to the guest's companion. Their statement is as follows:
"Carnival Magic has reported a man overboard to the U.S. Coast Guard. He was reported missing by his companion late Monday afternoon and 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. The U.S. Coast Guard has released the ship from any search and rescue efforts and advised the ship’s captain to continue on its way to Norfolk where it will arrive as planned on Tuesday. The Carnival Care Team is providing support to the guest’s companion and traveling party who are on board."
Blosser has created a GoFundMe to help pay for Peale's funeral expenses.
The Carnival Magic left Norfolk Tuesday evening for another Bahamas cruise.
This story was originally published by Julia Varnier at Scripps News Norfolk.
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