Search suspended for man who fell overboard from Carnival cruise ship near Florida

(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for a Virginia man who fell from a cruise ship balcony earlier this week.

Ronnie Peale Jr., 35, went overboard from a Carnival Magic cruise ship traveling off the coast of Florida on Monday, the Coast Guard said.

After searching more than 5,171 square miles over the course of 60 hours, the Coast Guard said Wednesday night that it has suspended search efforts for Peale.

“The decision to suspend the active search efforts pending further development is never one we take lightly,” Coast Guard District Seven search and rescue mission coordinator Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Hooper said in a statement. “We offer our most sincere condolences to Mr. Peale’s family and friends.”

Carnival Cruise Lines personnel contacted Coast Guard watchstanders at 6:36 p.m. on Monday to report that a passenger had fallen off the ship, which was 186 miles east of Jacksonville, the Coast Guard said.

Peale’s companion reported him missing 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 a.m. Monday,” Carnival Cruise Line said in a statement to ABC News.

His partner, Jennilyn Blosser, told Richmond ABC affiliate WRIC that the footage showed him leaning over the railing and that it looks like he accidentally fell.

“It’s not like he was like jumping, like you know, it wasn’t like that at all,” Blosser told the station.

Blosser said she woke up at 11:30 a.m. that morning and spent hours trying to find Peale. His mother, Linda Peale, told WRIC she knew something was wrong when her son didn’t call that day to check in on his dogs.

Peale, from New Hope, Virginia, was on his first cruise and was celebrating Blosser’s birthday with her family, Linda Peale said.

She described her son as “full of life” and someone who loved old cars, gardening and cooking.

“My son was a wonderful man,” Linda Peale told WRIC.

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