Levion Parker: 20yo who went overboard Royal Caribbean cruise ship identified

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A man who went overboard a Royal Caribbean cruise last week has been identified as Levion Parker.

The US man from North Port, Florida, who was a former high school football player and avid hunter, was holidaying with his family aboard Liberty of the Seas when tragedy struck.

The 20-year-old had reportedly gone overboard at 4am last Thursday when the 18-storey ship was returning to Fort Lauderdale in Florida after a four-day cruise to the Amber Cover cruise port in the Dominican Republic.

According to local media the was located about 90km off Great Inagua, the southernmost island of the Bahamas located near the eastern tip of Cuba, when the incident took place.

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told news.com.au the ship’s crew immediately launched a search and rescue effort alongside the US Coast Guard, who took over the search.

“Our Care Team is providing support and assistance to the guest’s family during this difficult time. For the privacy of the guest and their family, we have no additional details to share,” the spokesperson said on Monday.

Early that morning when passengers woke up to the news, Amy Phelps Fouse, who was on-board the ship, said it was “definitely sombre”.

Ms Phelps Fouse told the New York Post many people came out of their cabins to stare at the sea, hoping to be able to aid in finding the person.

“Royal Caribbean has been excellent at communicating updates throughout the day,” she said of the incident on Thursday.

“They have asked that people act with compassion in light of the tragic situation.”

Another passenger who took to Reddit to post about the heartbreaking incident said they became aware of the tragedy when the captain broke the news the following morning.

“They announced it over the PA system while we were at breakfast at the entire room went silent,” they wrote. “Then the rest of the cruise felt oddly casual.”

The young man was reportedly “drunk” on the night but details around this are unclear as the minimum age to consume alcohol on Royal Caribbean ships on voyages from North America or the Caribbean is 21.

According to the Daily Mail, he was thought to be staying with his family on deck 10, a flight below the whirlpools and hot tubs of deck 11 where he had spent time with his brother and another passenger the night of the incident before things took a horrifying turn.

Levion’s father Francel Parker, who owns an airconditioning business, was invited, together with his family, aboard the ship as guests of Florida-based airconditioning wholesalers Tropic Supply to mark the company’s 50th anniversary.

Francel told the Daily Mail the family is consulting lawyers and is planning to issue a statement.

Travel lawyer Jim Walker said in a blog that Royal Caribbean along with the vast majority of US cruise companies have yet to install automatic man overboard systems as required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010.

“Such automatic MOB systems utilise state-of-the-art motion detection, video and infra-red technology and radar to instantly detect when someone goes over the rails of a cruise ship,” he wrote.

“The system can then track the person’s movements in the water even at night-time,” adding the infra-red technology would be crucial in assisting the ship in locating and rescuing the person in the water.

“Without such a system, the chances of locating an overboard person in the water at night it like finding a needle in a haystack.”

The US Coast Guard has suspended its search for the missing young man.

According to the Washington Post, about 386 people were reported to have gone overboard on the major cruise lines between 2000 to 2020.

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