Coast Guard searches for missing cruise ship passenger off Key Largo

Man, 22, seen intentionally jumping overboard from Independence of the Seas

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a man who went overboard on a cruise ship off the Florida Keys.

A Coast Guard news release said the 22-year-old man was seen falling from the 12th deck of the Independence of the Seas cruise ship early Thursday about 33 miles off the coast of Key Largo.

Royal Caribbean spokesman Owen Torres said the man was seen "intentionally going overboard" about 1:45 a.m.

Torres said the ship's staff notified authorities and turned the ship around to help search for the passenger.

"We were woken up by the jolt of the ship actually turning around," passenger Andrew McBroom told Local 10 News.

McBroom said the captain notified passengers of what was happening.

"You could tell he was very grief-stricken," McBroom said.

The Independence of the Seas was returning from a four-night cruise to Mexico. Torres said the ship resumed its return trip to Port Everglades about 6:15 a.m.

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