Coast Guard suspends search for Citrus Co. man who went overboard from cruise ship

File photo credit: U.S. Coast Guard

MIAMI, Fla. (WFLA) – The United States Coast Guard has suspended the search for a 23-year-old man who fell off a cruise ship near Cuba.

The Coast Guard said 23-year-old Brandon Paul from Floral City went overboard from the eighth deck of a Carnival Victory cruise ship around 3 a.m. on Wednesday. The ship was about 33 miles away from Pinar Del Rio when it happened.

A search boat was launched from the cruise ship after the incident. Cuban search and rescue crews helped the Coast Guard with the search.

Rescue crews searched for more than 16 hours and covered 3,469 square miles.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Brandon Paul,” said Chris Eddy, search and rescue mission coordinator, Seventh 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.”

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