Bruce O’Krepki, 18 – Suicide Overboard, Carnival Fantasy Passenger, May 24, 2009, Time of Death 9:45
The United States Coast Guard says on May 24, 2009, they were notified that a male passenger, Bruce O’Krepki, 18, from Louisiana is missing from the Carnival Cruise Line’s Fantasy. Carnival Fantasy has group of 30 or so high school graduates from the St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Hammond, Louisiana, near New Orleans celebrating graduation aboard. O’Krepki was one of them.
USCG Petty Officer Robert Simpson in Miami says the USCG was notified about 2145 hours on Sunday night that Bruce O’Krepki was missing from Fantasy as the ship was was making her way from New Orleans to Key West and ultimately to the Bahamas.
O’Krepki, an honor student and captain of the soccer team, was on an end of school year cruise with his parents who were chaperones on the ship. He fell from the 10th deck of the cruise ship.
Crews are searching the waters about 150 miles southwest of Tampa, Florida for the missing teenager off Fantasy sailing from New Orleans.
The Coast Guard launched an HC-130 Hercules search plane from Miami, an HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter from Clearwater and diverted a 110-foot patrol boat based in St. Petersburg.
“The search has been going on through the night, and it’s continuing through the day,” said Simpson.
For a second night the USCG searched the area waters on Monday night. No trace of O’Krepki had been found by noon on Tuesday.
USCG Petty Officer Nick Ameen said that Carnival Fantasy searched for the missing teen until around 0230 hours. Then, Fantasy continued on her way leaving the USCG to continue the search.
This would put Fantasy another four to five hours behind schedule as she sails onto Key West then the Bahamas.
Bruce O’Krepki was a student at St. Thomas Aquinas school and participated on their “Falcons” Cross Country Men’s Track & Field team.
Saint Thomas Aquinas Regional Catholic High School is a private, Roman Catholic high school within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge, Lousiana.
O’Krepki’s last performance before graduation on the team was at the Region III-2A Championships April 29, 2009 at Episcopal Track in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. O’Krepki ran a new season best time of 2:07.87 in the 800m.
To the locals, he was known as Bruce “Moose” O’Krepki #337.
O’Krepki had planned to attend Louisiana State University on an academic scholarship in the fall.
The weather in the Gulf Of Mexico has been turning nasty, making for some rough seas between New Orleans and Tampa. It is also making the search more difficult and the rescue more unlikely. As you can see in the radar image above, currently there are storms in the exact area the search is taking place.
This missing passenger is the third youngest passenger missing in the Cruise Bruise data based after a boy, 14 and a girl, 15.