Passenger dies after jumping off world’s largest cruise ship as it sets sail from Florida

A passenger has died after jumping overboard from the world’s largest cruise ship after it set sail from Florida.

The male passenger, who has not been identified, reportedly jumped, according to the New York Post, from the 20-deck high Icon of the Seas after it left a Florida port on Sunday to embark on a seven-day cruise around the Caribbean, first stopping in Honduras.

The Coast Guard, which said it did not have much involvement in the incident beyond assisting in the search for the man, told the New York Post that “the cruise ship deployed one of their rescue boats, located the man, and brought him back aboard”.

The man has since been “pronounced deceased,” the Coast Guard added.

The world’s largest cruise experience was approximately 300 miles away from PortMiami, and around 30 to 40 miles north of Santa Lucia, Cuba, at the time of the incident, which occurred in the morning, according to Cruise Hive.

The Royal Caribbean, which operates the Icon of the Seas along with other groundbreakingly large cruise ships, told the outlet in a statement that their ship’s crew immediately notified the Coast Guard in the US and “launched a search and rescue operation”.

The incident occurred on the Icon of the Seas, a 1,196ft-long and 20-deck high cruise ship (AFP via Getty)
The incident occurred on the Icon of the Seas, a 1,196ft-long and 20-deck high cruise ship (AFP via Getty)

“Our care team is actively providing support and assistance to the guest’s loved ones during this difficult time,” the cruise company added. “For the privacy of the guest and their family, we have no additional details to share.“

The ship, which holds way over 5,000 guests and only made its maiden voyage in January of this year, had embarked on the cruise on Saturday, but after the incident on Sunday, the cruise halted and stayed put for around two hours while the search continued, the outlet said.

The ship cost approximately $2bn to build (AFP via Getty)
The ship cost approximately $2bn to build (AFP via Getty)

According to CruiseMapper tracking data, the Icon of the Seas is continuing with the cruise, with its next stop in Coco Cay in the Bahamas on Friday.

Zachary Normandian, 31, told The New York Post that the atmosphere on board the ship has been “dystopian” after people have been carrying on with their holiday aboard the ship after the tragedy.

“It just seemed like more people would have been like ‘Oh my gosh, what’s going on,’ but no, people were just going about their day,” he said.

The passenger recalled the moment that the man who went overboard was brought back to the ship, after he claimed that the captain informed the ship that the missing person had been found.

“Everyone in the dining room clapped,” Mr Normandian told the outlet. “We assumed that the guy was fine.”

At that point, however, they did not know that he had passed away.

The incident comes over a month after a similar tragedy on another Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Liberty of the Seas when a 20-year-old man identified as Levion Parker is thought to have gone overboard during a trip around the Bahamas.

The cruise line immediately launched a search and rescue mission along with the US Coast Guard, but it was suspended after five days due to not being able to find him.

However, the cruise company has also witnessed some successful rescues in recent months, such as being able to recover a passenger who fell overboard from the Symphony of the Seas back in October.

The cruise, which had just left Barcelona at the time, said the guest was successfully brought back on board after falling shortly after it left the port.

The Independent has contacted Royal Caribbean for comment.