Virginia Tech Student Missing After Falling Off Carnival Cruise Ship

Family of 21-year-old Cameron Smook was looking forward to a very bright future."

U.S. Coast Guard crews called off their search Wednesday for a Virginia Tech student who fell from a Carnival Cruise ship in the Bahamas over the weekend.

Virginia Tech officials say the 21-year-old man was reported missing from Carnival Glory on Sunday morning, WSLS 10 reported. Camera footage from the ship shows someone falling overboard.

With permission of his family, Virginia Tech released the identity of the student as Cameron Smook of Glen Allen, Virginia, a senior majoring in mining and minerals engineering in the school's College of Engineering.

In a statement, Smook's family said he and several friends left on the cruise from Miami aboard the Carnival Glory on Saturday. They said Carnival Cruise Line officials notified them Sunday morning that Smook had fallen overboard and was missing at sea.

Coast Guard Petty officer Jon-Paul Rios told the Roanoke Times that two other Carnival ships helped search for about 24 hours, then returned to their routes.

The Coast Guard searched by air and sea an area of 5,500 nautical square miles from Sunday to Tuesday before calling off its search. Their efforts were concentrated in the area of Great Abaco Island, Bahamas. Carnival Glory and another cruise ship also assisted with the search for a time, according to WSLS 10.

In their statement Wednesday, Smook's family thanked the Coast Guard "for their outstanding service and for keeping us informed throughout this ordeal."

The Carnival Glory was on the first leg of a seven-day Caribbean cruise when Smook fell.

His family said Smook was a graduate of Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, outside of Richmond. He was scheduled to graduate from Virginia Tech this spring with a degree in mining engineering.

"Our family sincerely appreciates your continued prayers and support at this most difficult time," Smook's family said in their statement.

Their statement continued, "...He thoroughly enjoyed his experiences at Virginia Tech, had just accepted an employment offer, and was looking forward to a very bright future."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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