Antonio Matabang, 25 – Suicidal Behavior, Carnival Sensation Staff, January 1, 2009, Time of Death 12:00.
An entertainer aboard the Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Sensation, fell over a railing just after midnight during the ship’s New Year’s Eve celebration, making him the first person to fall overboard on a cruise ship in 2009.
The entertainer, Antonio Matabang, 25, was off-duty at the time. He was said to be standing on a railing for a photograph, when he lost his balance and fell, witnessed by other employees who threw Matabang a life ring then put out the man overboard call after he fell a distance of 80 feet.
At the time of the incident the Sensation was about 20 miles off the Vero Beach, Florida coast coming back from a four-day New Year’s Bahamas cruise that had embarked on December 28, 2008 from Cape Canaveral.
Reports are saying it was just about 0050 hours when Matabang, from California fell and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) was called to assist in a search for the entertainer.
The ship searched for the Matabang until 0600 hours along with the USCG when it was released to continue back to port, where the ship docked at Terminal 5 at Port Canaveral around 0925 hours.
The USCG has continued the search using Air Station Miami HU-25 Falcon jet crew, HH-65C Dolphin helicopter crew, HU-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, C-130 plane crew, 33-foot Special Purpose boat crew from Station Fort Pierce, and the Cutter Bluefin and Cutter Shrike, both 87-foot patrol boats.
Contributing factors to this accident as well as the search and rescue was the weather at the time. The seas were very rough it was extremely windy.