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Coast Guard suspends search for man who fell from cruise ship near Cuba

Brandon Paul fell from eighth deck of Carnival Victory early Wednesday

MIAMI – The Coast Guard suspended its search Thursday night for a 23-year-old man who fell off a cruise ship near Cuba.

the Carnival Victory cruise ship 33 miles northwest of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba.

Brandon Paul, 23, of Floral City, was on the eighth deck of the Carnival Victory cruise ship when he fell overboard about 3 a.m. Wednesday, 33 miles northwest of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard searched for more than 16 hours, covering 3,469 square miles.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Brandon Paul," Coast Guard search and rescue mission coordinator Chris Eddy said. "Making the choice to suspend a search is never an easy decision and one the Coast Guard doesn't take lightly, and despite our best efforts, we were unable to reunite Paul with his family."

The ship left from Miami and was traveling to Cozumel, Mexico on a four-day cruise.