The Australian man who fell overboard from a Royal Caribbean cruise in the Virgin Islands has been identified as 37-year-old entrepreneur and father Jon Pfahl.
Mr Pfahl was travelling with his wife and children on the Symphony of the Seas from St Kitts to St Thomas when tragedy struck early Thursday morning (local time).
The cruise ship turned back and dispatched a rescue boat in search of him between 3am and 4am, with the captain announcing later that a man was deceased.
A statement from Royal Caribbean Cruises said it was “deeply saddened by the tragic incident”, explaining it had exhausted all search efforts to recover the man.
“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.
“We are working closely with authorities and will continue to assist in their investigation.”
Family and friends of the London-based entrepreneur have since flooded social media with tributes, describing him a “true rockstar” and “outrageous, charismatic, talented” with a “huge heart”.
The Sydney-born entrepreneur founded the British group Rockstar that mentors and invests in businesses.
The business’s website said while he was “still only in his 30s, Jonathan is a driven and successful entrepreneur who is passionate about working with entrepreneurs who are determined to see their business grow”.
One friend Karen Melonie Gould described how she had woken to the “devastating news that my great friend and mentor Jonathan Pfahl died yesterday”.
“He will be greatly missed, I had a lot of love and respect for this very talented young man,” she posted to Facebook.
“He loved life and lived it to the full, my sincere condolences go out to his family.
“He was known to many as JP the legend, particularly to many young entrepreneurs whom he inspired, he believed in me when I did not believe in myself.”
Another friend, Lee McAteer, said he was “absolutely stunned” to hear about his friend “tragically passing away”.
“JP was a true rockstar and helped so many people get their businesses going.”
Warren Cass shared photos in a tribute post, writing: “Such sad news today about Jon Pfhal. He was outrageous, charismatic, talented and had a huge heart. He will be missed.”
A woman named Irina Alionte expressed Mr Pfhal’s significant impact on the people around him in the time he was alive.
“In your short time here, you made a real impact in my life & the lives thousands of young entrepreneurs in the UK. I will always remember you as an inspiration and role model.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed it was investigating.
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