Teen goes overboard the largest cruise ship in the world, family says officials ‘barely telling us anything’

News & Politics

A teen went overboard while vacationing on the largest cruise ship in the world earlier this week. The search is ongoing, but the teen’s family said officials have “barely” provided any updates on the missing cruise passenger lost at sea.

Around 9 p.m. on Tuesday, a passenger went overboard during a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas ship. Sigmund Ropich, a Texas native, reportedly went overboard into the Caribbean Sea when the cruise ship was off the coast of Cuba.

Rhode Island resident Jenna Izzo, who is on the cruise ship, told CNN that the ship’s captain made an announcement that a passenger had gone overboard on Tuesday. She recalled that the captain was going to turn the ship around so a search and rescue operation could be conducted. However, after an unfruitful three-hour search, the cruise ship continued to the next destination port of Grand Cayman, according to Izzo.

The Cuban Border Guard began a search and rescue mission.

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Savannah Ropich, Sigmund’s sister, said on Friday that the U.S. Consulate informed the family that the Cuban Border Guard is “going to stop the ocean search and are only doing a coastal and land search.”

Savannah Ropich told CNN, “We just want our brother home. They’re taking too long and barely telling us anything.”

“I just want my brother home,” Savannah wrote in a Facebook post. “He is a son, a big and a little brother, a cousin, an uncle, a nephew, a friend, a homie, a classmate, a co-worker, a neighbor.”

Royal Caribbean issued a statement on Wednesday that said the ship’s onboard crew “immediately launched a search and rescue operation and is working closely with local authorities.”

Savannah said her brother was enjoying the cruise with friends when he went overboard from the 230,000-ton vessel.

It is not currently known how Ropich fell off the massive cruise ship.

The Wonder of the Seas set sail on a 7-day cruise starting on Aug. 27, when it departed from Port Canaveral, Florida. The 19-year-old college student went overboard on the second day of the cruise. The Wonder of the Seas is scheduled to return to Port Canaveral on Sunday.

The U.S. Coast Guard will conduct an investigation into the overboard incident when the ship returns to the U.S., according to a spokesperson.

The Wonder of the Seas is 1,188 feet long and features 18 decks. The largest cruise ship in the world has a capacity of 7,084 passengers and 2,204 crew members. Wonder of the Seas first launched in March 2022.

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