BATON ROUGE — After searching for three days, the Coast Guard announced on Thursday that it has suspended the search for missing cruise passenger Tyler Barnett.
Coast Guard crews searched approximately 5,625 square miles, roughly larger than the size of Connecticut. The Coast Guard searched with aircrafts and transmitted marine broadcasts. Weather conditions presented challenges for aircrews and included sustained 8-foot to 12-foot seas, limited visibility, and gale force winds during the active search efforts.
“The Coast Guard launched multiple search and rescue assets as soon as we were notified of a missing passenger from the Carnival Glory,” said Lt. Cmdr. Sean DiGeorge, Coast Guard District Eight search and rescue mission coordinator. “Our crews battled severe weather conditions for multiple days and made every effort to find Mr. Barnett. Suspending an active search is never a decision we make lightly, and we offer our most sincere condolences to Mr. Barnett’s family and friends.”
It comes after Carnival Cruise Line’s Public Relations Senior Manager said it appears Tyler Barnett jumped off the ship’s Deck 4, but the family says Barnett slipped off.
Tyler Barnett, 28, from Houma, and father of twin girls, was on board the cruise ship Carnival Glory when he went missing as of Nov. 13.
Carnival issued a statement:
The carnival glory security team has confirmed that after multiple reviews of the shipboard surveillance video, it appears that the guest reported missing on Monday jumped from the ship’s Deck four at approximately 1:40 a.m. on Monday, November 13. He can be seen climbing on a lifeboat and jumping from there. Only on Tuesday were we advised of the possibility of him wearing a different shirt, which allowed our security team to change the profile of the guest as we searched on board video.Matt Lupoli, Senior Manager of Public Relations with Carnival Cruise Line
The family says Barnett slipped off Deck 4 and did not jump off the ship.
Barnett was last seen Sunday night around 11:40 p.m., the first night the cruise left from New Orleans. Since then, his family tells Unfiltered with Kiran, he had not been seen. He was reported missing to the Coast Guard Monday afternoon with an official search starting Monday late afternoon.
His family says, “We last saw him at 11:40 (Sunday night), then he left saying he was going to his room. He didn’t go straight there though. His ID showed being swiped in the casino at 12:15 a.m., then it shows being used again to get into his room at 12:27 a.m. but his bed was never slept in.”
Barnett’s grandmother, Dirlean Tate Mason, said Barnett went on the cruise with his sister and stepdad. The cruise was heading to the Caribbean.
“His bed wasn’t slept in. His phone is in his room, dead,” Mason said. “Carnival says he isn’t on camera footage. People tell us there are cameras everywhere. There were none at the casino or his room door. I wonder what happened. He has twin little girls. He wouldn’t just jump over.”
Mason said her grandson loves being outdoors.
“He loves being on the river and fishing,” she said. “He came in and spent time with his babies and would go fishing. He loves being out on the water and the boat. He is kind. I hate it because I haven’t seen him in a while, and I want to be able to see him again. It’s hard to believe this is happening. His momma is devastated. His sister is overwhelmed.”
“We want him home,” she continued. We want answers. We’re praying for him to be found safe. I don’t understand how their cameras didn’t pick up anything.”
Cruise officials started announcing his name Monday morning with personnel going door-to-door in hopes of finding him.
The Carnival Glory sails to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Transatlantic from New Orleans and Orlando. The ship reportedly left New Orleans Sunday for Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island, and Cozumel. It’s set to arrive back in New Orleans on Nov. 19.