Search continues for Catalina Express passenger who went overboard; crew member says man jumped


(KTLA) — The search for a Catalina Express passenger who went overboard Thursday evening near the coast of Long Beach is continuing Friday.

The Coast Guard was back in the water and ready to continue their search throughout the day for the missing passenger, Long Beach Fire Department spokesperson Brian Fisk said Friday.

The incident aboard the Jet Cat Express was reported just before 6 p.m. Thursday, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The missing passenger was described by authorities as a 24-year-old Black man wearing a white sweatshirt.

A crew member said the man was seen jumping off the boat, Fisk said Friday but did not give any further details.

Catalina Express President Greg Bombard talked about what happened Thursday night.

“Deckhands actually saw some of it,” Bombard said. “When they saw him hit the water, they threw a life ring over and here we are looking for him.”

Bombard said the man went over the stern of the vessel about 3 miles into the trip, which left from Long Beach at about 5:20 pm. on its way to Catalina.

Sky5 was over the scene as the Coast Guard, L.A. County Lifeguards, a dive team and a helicopter responded to look for the man.

The boat circled the area for about an hour before returning to shore about 8 p.m., where it was met by distraught family members.

One passenger said she noticed something unusual about the man who went overboard before the trip began.

“He just seemed a little out of sorts walking onto the boat,” Domina Woods said.

Investigators are interviewing crew members and the man’s girlfriend. Security cameras on the boat are also being checked to help determined what happened.

The Jet Cat Express vessel operates as a privately owned passenger ferry, transporting passengers from the Los Angeles area to Catalina Island.

Bombard said this is the first time anything like this has happened in the 40 years he’s been in business.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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