Teenager who jumped overboard from Royal Caribbean's ship Wonder OTS identified, search continues

   September 5, 2023 ,   Accidents

A recent incident on RCI-Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas involved a passenger jumping overboard, identified as 19-year-old Sigmund Ropich by his sister, Savannah Ropich. Savannah has been actively seeking assistance and updates through her social media account. The ongoing search for the missing teenager from the world's largest cruise ship has been extended.

Sigmund, a college student traveling with companions, jumped overboard from the 230,000-ton vessel at ~ 9 pm (in the waters off Santiago de Cuba), just two days after the 7-day voyage started out of Port Canaveral Florida.

Initial reports indicated that the young man intentionally jumped (from his cabin's balcony on deck 11) into the sea.

In response, the ship reversed course and the crew conducted a comprehensive search of the ocean using spotlights, watches, and a rescue boat, spanning ~3 hours. RCI stated its collaboration with the US Coast Guard, though the latter clarified that search and rescue operations fall under Cuba's jurisdiction.

Savannah Ropich shared that Cuban authorities have ceased their search and are now focusing on coastal and land-based efforts. She expressed relief that the search continues.

Allegations arose from a woman claiming to be a passenger on the Wonder OTS, stating that the ship's Captain had video evidence of the man falling overboard. However, Sigmund's sister refuted this claim, labeling it as misinformation.

Hurricane Idalia had already prompted a deviation from the originally planned itinerary.

The 17-floor Wonder OTS has max capacity to accommodate ~2400 crew and ~7000 passengers.

For more Wonder of the Seas incidents and accidents see the ship's CruiseMinus page.