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Man falls overboard from Carnival ship that was returning to Virginia

Carnival Magic Ronnie Lee Peale Jr
Posted at 9:55 AM, May 30, 2023

NORFOLK, Va. — A man who fell overboard from the cruise ship "Carnival Magic" early Monday morning while it was on its way back to port in Norfolk is still missing, Carnival Cruise Line said.

The guest was reported missing by a travel companion late Monday afternoon, Carnival Cruise Line confirmed to CBS 6 sister station, News 3.

A Carnival spokesperson said, "...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. early Monday morning."

The ship departed Norfolk on May 25 and was headed towards the Bahamas. It returned Tuesday morning after the trip while the search effort continued near Jacksonville, Florida, where the incident happened.

The U.S. Coast Guard released the ship from search and rescue efforts when the man was first reported missing, and directed the Carnival Magic's captain to continue to Norfolk.

The man was identified by his fiancee, Jennilyn Michelle Blosser, as Ronnie Lee Peale Jr.

Carnival Magic Ronnie Lee Peale Jr
Jennilyn Michelle Blosser with her husband, Ronnie Lee Peale Jr., who she says went overboard a Carnival Magic ship returning to Norfolk.

Blosser told News 3 it was Peale's first cruise and he was the "life of the party."

"He loved the cruise life being able to drink, gamble, and socialize put him in his happy place. This was his first cruise and I’m sure he would have been willing to do one monthly," said Blosser.

After Carnival Magic returned to Norfolk on Tuesday morning, some passengers told News 3 they heard cruise personnel asking for the man over the intercom several times, but they weren't sure why or how the man was missing.

“There was a security team storming each deck, each floor, concerned. But eventually, they let everybody know that he wasn't found,” said one passenger, Leevon Porter.

Porter and Symone Stewart, another passenger, said Carnival Magic staff didn’t alert them about the man going overboard. They said instead, they learned the man went overboard through a Facebook post published by his wife.

“There was a Facebook page for the cruise and [the wife of the man who went overboard] put it there,” said Stewart. “But Carnival didn't say anything about it.”

A lot of the passengers who interacted with the man who went overboard described him to News 3 as a "great guy who was super fun."

Carnival Cruise Line said its care team is providing support to the guest's companion. Their full statement is as follows:

Carnival Magic has reported a man overboard to the U.S. Coast Guard.  He was reported missing by his companion 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 am early Monday morning.  The U.S. Coast Guard has released the ship from any search and rescue efforts and advised the ship’s captain to continue on its way to Norfolk where it will arrive as planned on Tuesday.  The Carnival Care Team is providing support to the guest’s companion and traveling party who are on board.

Statement from Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Magic docked in Norfolk
Carnival Magic docked at Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center

Officials did not release any other details about the incident.

This is a developing story.

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