Coast Guard suspends search for man who fell overboard from cruise ship

26-year-old fell from ship about 35 miles south of Islamorada

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

MIAMI - The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for a man who went overboard from a cruise ship this week off the coast of the Florida Keys.

Thomas McElhany, 26, has been missing since around 5 a.m. Friday when the crew of the Carnival Victory alerted the Coast Guard that a passenger had gone overboard about 35 miles south of Islamorada.

The Victory briefly joined the search Friday, but eventually returned to the Port Miami. 

The Coast Guard said crews including those on airplanes, helicopters and cutters searched for 32 hours and covered 2,086 square miles.

"I have been in contact with members of Mr. McElhany's family throughout our search efforts and know this is a very difficult and painful time for them,” said Cmdr. David Aldous, Coast Guard 7th District search and rescue mission coordinator. "Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make as first responders, and it is never made lightly."

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