Search continues for missing Catalina ferry passenger off Long Beach coast

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) – Authorities searched Friday for a passenger who went overboard from a ferry off the coast of Long Beach.

Crews from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department resumed searches from the first light of morning on Friday after searching all night on Thursday.

The man is said to have fallen from the Jet Cat Express about five kilometers off the coast on Thursday at around 6 p.m. when the high-speed catamaran was sailing to Santa Catalina Island, the authorities said.

The boat is operated by Catalina Express. Company president Greg Bombard told reporters that sailors saw the man go overboard from the stern of the ship.

“When they saw him fall into the water, they threw a life preserver over,” he said.

Bombard said he did not know if the man jumped or fell off the boat.

“People saw him go over the site, so let’s look at the footage we have and we’ll find out,” said Bombard. “We’ve never had anyone who jumped or fell like that.”

The ferry, which carried around 150 passengers, returned to Long Beach and the passengers were transferred to another boat to continue their journey to the island.

Passengers scheduled to board the ferry on Friday told Eyewitness News they were shocked to hear about the incident.

“I know the rails are so high, higher than waist high, so was I trying to figure out how he fell over? Or maybe he was sitting on the rail trying to take a picture and fell over, ”said Wendy Griffin.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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