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Search for man who jumped off of Carnival cruise ship suspended

4:19 PM, Aug 29, 2012   |    comments
Photo courtesy United States Coast Guard
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The search for the man who jumped off Carnival's Fascination cruise ship Tuesday morning has been suspended by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Crew members of Fascination reported seeing Army Sgt. Ronald Kemp, 31, jump off the 10th deck and go overboard early Tuesday morning. The search for Kemp by sea and air covered 2,300 miles and found no sign of him at all.

Rings were immediately thrown into the water and the ship performed a maneuver to bring it back to the spot where the overboard occurred, according to Carrie Hyman, manager of brand public relations with Carnival.

The Carnival Fascination left Jacksonville's cruise terminal Monday at 5 p.m. The cruise was headed to the Bahamas and Key West, but the stop at Key West has been canceled, Hyman said.

Kemp is assigned to Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield in Fort Stewart, Ga., according to a release from the Coast Guard.

The water crafts that searched for Kemp 25 miles off of New Symrna Beach, Fla., included an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Clearwater, Fla.; an 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Shrike from Port Canaveral, Fla.; a 154-foot Coast Guard Cutter from Miami; and a 210-foot Coast Guard Cutter Resolute from St. Petersburg, Fla.

Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Fla., also sent two helicopters and an Air Force plane to help with the search.

The FBI is looking into the case, but Special Agent Jeff Westcott  said it is not yet known at this time if any federal crime has been committed.

Kemp has been at Fort Stewart since September 2010. He was the artillery man with the 4th infantry brigade combat team. He has also been to Iraq twice on two different deployments.

Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said support is being provided to Kemp's family at this time.

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