Crew members on the California Catalina Express Ferry saw a man jump from the boat before he vanished.
On Thursday evening, crew members of a California Catalina Express ferry said they observed a man jump off the boat and disappear into the water.
The man was a passenger on the Jet Cat Express, a privately owned passenger ferry that takes passengers from the Los Angeles area to Catalina Island. Catalina Express is the company that runs the ship.
On Friday, Catalina Express President Greg Bombard told reporters, “Deckhands actually saw some of it.” “They tossed a life ring over when they saw him hit the water, and now we’re looking for him.”
Bombard said he didn’t know if the man leapt from the boat on purpose or whether something prompted him to fall from the stern. He went on to say that this is the first time something like this has happened in his 40 years in the industry.
Bombard stated, “We’ve never had someone jump over or fall over like that.”
According to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, authorities were first notified of the incident aboard the Jet Cat Express at 6 p.m. Thursday.
A 24-year-old Black man wearing a white sweater was identified as the missing passenger. His identity has remained a mystery.
The incident happened about three miles into the voyage after the boat left Long Beach for Catalina at 5:20 p.m., according to Bombard. After circling the region for almost an hour, the boat, carrying around 150 passengers, returned to Long Beach about 8 p.m. Passengers were transferred to a different boat for the remainder of their journey to the island.
The U.S. Coast Guard, L.A. County Lifeguards, a dive team and a helicopter responded to aid in the search.
Authorities are using the life ring, thrown by crew members, as the “point last seen” for the search effort.
The 24-year-old was on board the boat with his girlfriend, who, along with crew members, is being interviewed by investigators to determine what happened. Security camera footage is also being reviewed to help piece together the events leading up to the man going overboard.
“People saw him go over the side, so we’ll look at the footage we’ve got, and we’ll figure that out,” Bombard said.
On Friday, the Coast Guard returned to the water to continue the search, according to Long Beach. This is a brief summary.