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On the evening of August 29, 2023, a tragic overboard incident occurred involving a passenger on the cruise ship Wonder Of The Seas. The ship was in international waters off southeastern Cuba when 19-year-old Sigmund Ropich, a resident of Paris, Texas, USA, went overboard. Initial reports suggest that Ropich intentionally jumped from his cabin’s balcony on deck 11.
Details of the Incident
The incident unfolded at approximately 8:15 pm CST, equivalent to 1:15 UTC. The ship was sailing south of Santiago de Cuba when the event occurred. Immediately afterward, the ship stopped, turned around, and initiated a search and rescue operation. A rescue boat was deployed, and circular sweeps were conducted in the area. However, the search was terminated after approximately 2.5 hours due to an onboard medical emergency. The ship proceeded to make an unscheduled stop at Grand Cayman to offload the ill passenger. The Cuban Coast Guard continued the search, while the U.S. Coast Guard was informed but did not dispatch any resources for assistance.
The unfortunate event occurred during Wonder Of The Seas’ 7-day “Western Caribbean and Perfect Day Cruise,” which began on August 27 and is set to conclude on September 3. The cruise had planned call ports in The Bahamas, Honduras, and Mexico. However, due to Hurricane Idelia, some ports were omitted from the original itinerary, including a planned stop in Honduras. The ship was departing from Port Canaveral in Orlando, Florida, USA.