A Sydney father-of-two is dead after falling from a cruise ship off the coast of the United States.
The man, named as businessman and entrepreneur Jonathan Pfahl, 37, reportedly fell overboard on Wednesday local time as Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas headed to the Virgin Islands.
Mr Pfahl lived in Sydney but was most recently based in London.
Friends and colleagues took to social media on Friday morning to pay tribute to Mr Pfahl, who started up UK company Rockstar Group, which invests in businesses and mentors budding entrepreneurs.
“We are all saddened to hear about the loss of Jon Pfahl – Jonathan spoke on our stage in London, his enthusiasm to make a difference and take people on a journey was infectious. We will all miss him RIP Jon,” UK community organisation Yes Group posted to Facebook.
Lee McAteer posted on Instagram that he was “absolutely stunned” to hear his friend had tragically passed away.
“Will never forget our time at #gumball3000 or your bet on Donald Trump or making us invest in an F1 car!
“RIP my friend and keep partying up in the skies,” he posted.
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Absolutely stunned to hear that Jonathan Pfahl has tragically passed away. JP was a true rockstar and helped so many people get their businesses going. In 2015 he was named in the #Maserati100 Will never forget our time at #gumball3000 or your bet on Donald Trump or making us invest in an F1 car! RIP my friend and keep partying up in the skies. Thoughts are with all your beautiful family. #JP #JonPfahl #JonathanPfahl #GumballRally #RIP
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Earlier, the Miami Herald reported reported that rescue crews managed to retrieve the man’s body and in a statement, Royal Caribbean confirmed the death.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic incident that occurred on the Symphony of the Seas en route to St Thomas,” the company said.
“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones for their loss, and our care team is providing support and assistance during this difficult time.”
“Upon the initial report that an Australian adult male had gone overboard, our ship immediately turned, launched a rescue boat, and conducted a full-scale search.”
The company said it was working closely with authorities and would continue to assist in their investigation.
Nickella Battle, a reporter with Florida’s 7News Miami, was on board the ship at the time and said while the incident occurred about 4am local time, passengers were not informed until later that afternoon.
“I was on the balcony of my stateroom at around 3.30pm. The captain was on the intercom. He was like, ‘Oh, a man fell overboard, and unfortunately he was deceased. This happened about 4am,'” Ms Battle said.
“I looked out from my balcony and everybody was taken aback. You could see everyone stopped in their tracks,” Ms Battle said.
The Miami Herald reported the US Coast Guard would not be investigating the death because the ship was registered in the Bahamas, the victim was not a US citizen and the incident occurred in international waters.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs is yet to comment on the reports.
Some 25 people were thought to have gone overboard on cruise ships in 2018, of which only four bodies were found, according data compiled by maritime researcher Professor Ross Klein of the Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Of those recovered, three people were found alive and one person was found dead.
So far this year, Mr Klein found there have been 19 recorded incidents of people going overboard.