Search suspended for N.C. cruise ship passenger

A cruise ship that had turned around to look for a missing passenger resumed its voyage as the Coast Guard suspended its search for the 24-year-old man.

The missing man is Brent Smith, 24, who graduated from Aycock High School in Pikesville, where he graduated in 2001 and later moved to Wilmington, according to then Sandy Tyndall, administrative assistant at Wilson Praise & Worship.

Recently, Tyndall said, Smith had worked with his father at T.A. Loving Co., but she didn't think he had moved back to the Wilson area.

At the 200-member church, she said, where the Smith family have attended for years, "Everybody is devastated."

Relatives last saw the man around 1:45 a.m. Monday on his stateroom balcony and reported him missing about seven hours later, according to Royal Caribbean International. The ship, Freedom of the Seas, turned around to try to find him in the water east of Eleuthera Island, Bahamas.

The FBI and the Bahamian Maritime Authority were aware the passenger was missing, the company said.

The ship, operated by Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., was expected to dock in Puerto Rico today, a day later than scheduled, then return to Miami on Sunday.

Passengers have survived falls from cruise ships before, including three in March alone. A 35-year-old man was pulled from the water about eight hours after he went over the side of a Carnival Cruise Lines ship off Florida's coast on March 16. A few weeks later, a man and woman in their 20s went overboard from a Princess Cruises ship and were rescued about five hours later with no major injuries.