The passenger who went overboard on the largest cruise ship in the world has been named as 19-year-old Sigmund Ropich.
Mr Ropich, a college student, was identified by his sister Savannah Ropich, who said she had been in contact with the US Embassy in Cuba.
Mr Ropich went overboard from Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas before 9pm on 29 August during the second day of a seven-day trip sailing from Port Canaveral in Florida to the Grand Cayman Islands, the cruise company said. He has still not been found almost a week later.
The teen was on holiday on the cruise with his best friends, his co-worker and his co-worker’s family, when the incident happened.
“Sig is a great kid. Never gets in trouble and never caused trouble. Very intelligent, got A’s in Calculus/Physics/Government in high school with no effort. He is a college student as well and works too. He is a kind, reserved and humble kid who also loves to make people laugh. I always call him the ‘Cool, Calm and Collected’ sibling,” Ms Ropich told Fox News.
Ms Ropich said that Cuban officials have stopped their search operation in the sea, but have now moved to the coastline and land to continue looking.
“I have a strong feeling they’re going the end this search,” Ms Ropich told Insider.
“We are very hopeful if they open [the] search back in the ocean. We need them to open it again,” Ms Ropich said.
The family of Mr Ropich said they have very few details on his disappearance and search. Royal Caribbean has not informed the family how long the ship’s crew has searched for the missing teenager, his sister said.
The family have been “praying hourly day and night” for Mr Ropich to be found.
Royal Caribbean said it was working with the US Coast Guard on the search for Mr Ropich. However, a spokesperson for the South Florida branch of the US Coast Guard told Business Insider that the Cuban Border Guard is leading the search, because the incident occurred in Cuba’s territorial waters.
The incident was reported at around 9pm ET on 29 August when an “Oscar! Oscar! Oscar!” call, which signifies an overboard emergency, was made, according to industry blog Cruise Hive.
The crew launched a three-hour search in the water using searchlights and smaller boats and the ship turned around to retrace its route.
Passengers on board the 230,000-ton cruise ship Wonder of the Seas said that their original journey had already been diverted due to Hurricane Idalia.
The Wonder of the Seas is a 1,188 feet long ship and enough space to accommodate 7,000 passengers and 2,300 crew members.
At 18 decks high, this vessel is the largest cruise ship in the world. It is unclear whereabouts on the boat Mr Ropich went overboard from.
A woman claiming to be a passenger on the Wonder of the Seas posted on TikTok saying the captain announced video evidence that showed the man jumping overboard. Mr Ropich’s sister spoke against this, saying the woman was spreading misinformation.
“She has no clue what is going on with the whereabouts of my brother and his situation,” Ms Ropich said in a Facebook post.
Since Mr Ropich is an American citizen, the Coast Guard could not conduct an investigation until the Wonder of the Seas docked back in the US on Sunday.