Update: Coast Guard Calls off Search for Overboard Carnival Crewmember

January 5, 2009
Update, 5:30 p.m.: Various media outlets have reported that, according to witnesses, Matabang was standing on the ship's railing for a photo before falling nearly 80 feet into the ocean. This will be our final update.

(January 3) -- The U.S. Coast Guard Saturday announced that it has called off its search for a missing crewmember, who fell overboard from Carnival Sensation early New Year's Day.

According to the Associated Press, officials have ceased the search for the 26-year-old entertainment supervisor, who officials identified as Antonio Matabang of California.

A statement from Carnival Cruise Lines says six fellow off-duty crewmembers witnessed the man's fall at about 12:50 a.m. and immediately reported the situation after throwing him life jackets and rings.

Using two cutters, a response boat and a C-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircraft, officials searched for the man for two days near the site of the accident, about 20 miles from Vero Beach. In all, more than 3,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean were covered, but no trace of Matabang was found.

--by Ashley Kosciolek, Copy Editor