MIAMI, FL—July 27, 2011 – Authorities from the U.S. Coast Guard on July 23, 2011 called off the search for a California man who was reported missing from a cruise ship less than one day before. According to information provided by 10News, Fallbrook resident Blake Kepley, 20, was traveling in Alaska aboard the Holland America cruise vessel Oosterdam when he went missing on June 22, 2011.
Reports indicated Kepley was last seen aboard the cruise ship Oosterdam, a 7-day Alaskan cruise voyage, at some point between 12 a.m. and 1 a.m. on June 22. Kepley’s family members reported him missing at approximately 2:30 p.m., when he failed to meet up with them before disembarking from the ship at a port in Ketchikan. Holland America then reported the missing persons case to Coast Guard officials. Cruise line representatives appeared to believe Kepley may have fallen overboard.
Although the Coast Guard search lasted less than 24 hours, ending at about 3:45 p.m. on June 23, USCG personnel in helicopters and other boats covered a span of nearly 400 miles in an attempt to find the missing cruise ship passenger. The cruise vacation came to an end on June 24.
According to an unidentified passenger who sent 10News an e-mail regarding the missing persons case, “Two passengers, twin sisters, told me they were walking on deck Thursday at 8:15 and saw Blake by the railing. He was kneeling and had his hands in a prayer position, crying. A few minutes later they observed him being carried or dragged off the deck by a man and another young man. They believed that the man was his dad and a brother or cousin.”
Petty Officer 1st Class Lindsey Kirby, Sector Juneau Operations unit controller maintained, “While we have suspended active searching, we encourage anyone who sees anything while transiting though the area to call the Coast Guard… Suspending a case is one of the hardest decisions that we as search and rescuers have to make.”
Recreational boating accident statistics provided by the Coast Guard indicated there were 431 falls overboard, resulting in a total of 188 deaths and 257 injuries, in 2008.
Also, drowning was the leading cause of death related to such boating accidents. During the year 2008, recreational boating accidents resulted in at least 510 drowning deaths.
About the Miami cruise ship injury lawyers and boat accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A.
With four decades of experience litigating the multifaceted personal injury and wrongful death claims of boat and cruise line passengers who are hurt or assaulted onboard, the knowledgeable Florida boating accident lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz are dedicated to protecting the rights of these individuals and fighting to provide them with the compensation they deserve. Working closely with the National Center for Victims of Crime, the Miami personal injury attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. strive to provide justice to individuals who suffer serious injuries in a wide variety of boating accidents.