After combing 2,086 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean, the Coast Guard crews suspended their search for an overboard Carnival Victory cruise ship passenger late Saturday night.

Thomas McElhany, 26, remains missing, despite crews from Florida searching nearly 32 hours for him.

“I have been in contact with members of Mr. McElhany’s family throughout our search efforts and know this is a very difficult and painful time for them,” said Cmdr. David Aldous, Coast Guard 7th District search and rescue mission coordinator, in an update emailed to Navy Times.

“Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make as first responders, and it is never made lightly.”

Coast Guard watchstanders received a distress call around 5 a.m. Friday stating that a male passenger had gone overboard.

Officials in Miami scrambled MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopters and HC-144 Ocean Sentry maritime patrol airplanes. They were joined by crews from the Key West-based cutter Charles Sexton and the cutter Cochito, which is homeported in Miami.

The Panama-flagged Carnival Victory makes brief excursions to the Bahamas, Mexico and Cuba from Florida. A Destiny-class liner listed at 101,509 gross tons, Carnival Victory can carry up to 2,764 passengers, according to the Carnival Cruise Line.

Online vessel tracking websites placed the Carnival Victory on Sunday afternoon near Nassau.

Prine came to Navy Times after stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

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