The Coast Guard is continuing to search for Kaylyn Rose Sommer, the 24-year-old woman from Charleston, S.C., who jumped overboard the Mad Decent Boat Party cruise ship on Thursday night, Lieutenant Commander Gabe Somma told Billboard on Friday (Nov. 13).
Following reports of the jump, the Coast Guard immediately launched an HC-130 aircraft out of Clearwater, Fla. Sommer jumped from more than 80 feet above the water while the ship was traveling at 16 knots per hour, Somma said.
— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) November 13, 2015
“Obviously we’re very concerned,” Somma told Billboard. “She was not wearing a life jacket. Young woman, in the dark, below the ocean, with no life jacket, you know there is certainly a concerning and dire situation.” That being said, Somma adds, “We are searching, we are hitting this very hard. We’ve now covered more than 600 square miles searching for her.”
He mentions that some of the search patterns overlap to ensure that they fully cover each 22-by-22 nautical-mile search box. The Coast Guard has been engaged with the family from early on and continue to be in close communication. All intentions by the Guard are being relayed to the family before making them public.
Despite the dire reality of the situation, Somma said, “The good news is that search conditions are good. The sea state is two feet, visibility is good, so search conditions are good, but the most concerning thing here is that you’ve got a young woman who is out to sea without a life jacket.”
Billboard will continue to bring you updates, or follow the U.S. Coast Guard Southeast Twitter here.