A Texas man has been lost at sea after he fell off a Royal Caribbean cruise ship 40 miles from the coast of Florida.
The man’s name is David Mossman, 46, from Texas, USA Today reported. It’s not clear how the man fell off the ship, but a passenger has come forward with a story about the incident that implies it wasn’t an accident.
The man fell off the ship about 11 p.m. Friday, as the mammoth cruise liner, Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, sailed 40 miles south of Key Largo.
A passenger named Vince Caputo told the New York Daily News that he believed the man was on the ship with his mother. Several other passengers told him that the man and his mother “got into a big argument” the night he fell off the ship.
Later in the evening, he was seen talking to someone else on the 10th deck stateroom balcony, added the Daily Mail. As the story goes, the person talking to the man turned away for a moment, and then he heard a splash.
Mossman had disappeared, apparently tumbling over the railing and 100 feet into the sea. The authorities haven’t put forth their own version of the evening’s events and haven’t confirmed whether the man fell off the ship by accident, fell of his own volition, or was pushed. Regardless, Caputo had his own theories about what happened.
“There’s railings, there’s no way you could fall accidentally. In my view it’s physically impossible to lean on those railings and just fall.”
Royal Caribbean has reviewed footage of the incident, which does capture Mossman falling overboard.
A search began immediately. A passenger reported that a man fell off the ship and life preservers were thrown into the water to rescue him. The U.S. Coast Guard also mobilized — their “exhaustive” search effort covered 2,583 square nautical miles and utilized helicopters, ships, and airplanes, CBS Miami added.
However, conditions at sea that night were reportedly “dark and difficult,” and the search proved challenging. Only 48 hours after the man fell off the ship, the Coast Guard called off the search.
According to experts, Mossman may not have survived the 100-foot fall into the water. The impact may have stunned or even killed him. And if he did survive, the frigid 65-degree water would’ve killed him within a few hours.
“We want to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Mossman as the decision to suspend a search is never an easy one to make and is done with great care and deliberation,” said Chris Eddy, search-and-rescue technical specialist at the Coast Guard 7th District. “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and an exhaustive search, our crews were unable to locate him.”
The cruise line is “providing support to the guest’s family;” they’re from Texas.
Meanwhile, the Mail learned a bit more about the man who fell off the ship. His life seemed rife with troubles: public records indicate he’d been charged with battery in a domestic violence case, for driving while intoxicated, and driving under the influence.
He’d also posted message about his apparent Christian faith on Facebook. Earlier this month, he shared the message, “PS. God is still working on me.”
The cruise has since ended, returning to Port Everglades after a six-night trip. The ship stopped at Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Haiti.
This incident is just the most recent cruise ship mishap in recent months, and Royal Caribbean has had very recent trouble. Anthem of the Seas was tossed about the Atlantic during a major storm last month; “extreme wind and sea conditions” kept passengers confined to their rooms. Last week, the same ship was struck by an outbreak of stomach virus.
The Navigator of the Seas holds 3,800 passengers and 1,200 crew.
[Photo by Ryan Fletcher/Shutterstock]