Friday, November 26, 2004

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A 54-year-old passenger vanished as his ship returned from a five-day cruise to the Bahamas, and a daylong ocean search turned up no sign of him yesterday.

Glenn Sheridan of Williamsburg was reported missing by his wife Thursday, after the Carnival Cruise Line ship Celebration moored in Jacksonville.

The ship’s electronic exit and entry program showed he had not left the vessel after the arrival, and a crew search of the boat came up empty, Carnival said.

Gloria Sheridan said she had last seen her husband about 1:30 a.m. Thursday. She said he was an early riser and might have fallen overboard as early as 4 a.m., said Coast Guard Petty Officer Bobby Nash.

“I just don’t know what happened,” Mrs. Sheridan said while waiting for news of her husband. “It’s a mystery.”

Petty Officer Nash said the ship at 4 a.m. would have been about 13 miles off northeastern Florida. A boat and helicopter scoured 350 square miles of ocean and the St. Johns River.

The search was suspended yesterday. The Jacksonville sheriff’s office was investigating the missing-person case, and the FBI office in the city said it was being kept informed of the progress of the investigation.

Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said it was rare for a passenger to be reported missing, but he couldn’t say exactly how often it has happened. Carnival carries about 3 million passengers a year, he said.

The Celebration, which can carry nearly 1,500 passengers, sailed back to the Bahamas with a fresh load of passengers later Thursday.

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