Local News

N.C. Man Missing From Cruise Ship Is Search Target

Posted June 19, 2007
Updated June 20, 2007

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— The U.S. Coast Guard searched Tuesday for a North Carolina man who went missing early Monday morning from a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

According to Pastor Cliff Lewin, of Wilson Praise and Worship Center, the missing man on the cruise ship is 24-year-old Brent Smith.

Smith, whose family goes to Lewin's church, was on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line vessel Freedom of the Seas with his parents, Kenneth and Lori Smith; two younger siblings, Matthew and Destiny; and a family friend, Lewin said.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, Smith was last seen at around 1:45 a.m. Monday. Coast Guard officials said a pair of sandals belonging to Smith were on the deck of the cruise ship.

"I think there is always hope, but I think they have done a very thorough search of the ship, and they really, truly believe that he is not on the ship," Lewin said.

The Coast Guard was searching a 130-mile-long area near the Bahamas between the Abaco Islands and San Salvador. A helicopter, along with a C-130 long-range surveillance aircraft, were being used in the search, officials said.

The cruise line said it would review video records and take statements from passengers in an effort to find a clue to how Smith went missing.

Lewin said the Smith family is still on the ship heading to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he plans to meet with them.

Smith was believed to live in Wayne County. He works with his father at the T.A. Loving Co., a construction firm in Goldsboro, family friends said.

A vigil will be held 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Wilson Praise and Worship Center, located on West Nash Street.