The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(MIAMI) — The Coast Guard suspended its search Thursday at 7:31 p.m. for a 23-year-old man who fell off the Carnival Victory cruise ship 33 miles northwest of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba.
Missing is Brandon Paul, 23, a Floral City, Fla., resident, who reportedly went overboard at approximately 3 a.m. Wednesday from the eighth deck of the cruise ship. The cruise ship launched a search boat and contacted watch standers at the 7th Coast Guard District Command Center.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Brandon Paul,” said Chris Eddy, search and rescue mission coordinator, 7th Coast Guard District Command Center. “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.”
Rescue crews searched for more than 16 hours covering 3,469 square miles.
Assets that assisted in the search were a Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew, a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater HC-130 Hercules airplane crew, the Coast Guard cutter Charles Sexton crew, Cuban search and rescue authorities and the Carnival Victory cruise ship.