The search was continuing Friday afternoon for a desperate 24-year-old man calling for help after he fell or jumped overboard from a Catalina Express vessel after the boat left Long Beach.
The man went overboard about 6 p.m. Thursday, according to the U.S Coast Guard, which was searching for him, as were the Los Angeles County fire and sheriff’s departments and the Long Beach Fire Department.
The search, involving helicopters and boats, had covered about 120 nautical square miles as of about daybreak, the Coast Guard reported.
“Deckhands actually saw some of it, so when they saw him hit the water, they threw a life ring over and … we are looking for him,” Greg Bombard, president of Catalina Express, told CBS2.
The Catalina Express operates between Long Beach and Catalina.
The man’s grandmother told KTLA5 early Friday afternoon from the Catalina Express dock area that her grandson was with his girlfriend, and they were on their way to Santa Catalina Island when he went overboard about 40 minutes into the journey.
“He was calling for help but the boat was going too fast,” Sandra Freedman said. “They tried to come back and get him, but he was gone.
“I don’t know why they were going to Catalina. I just know they were on the boat and then he dived over…. I’m not sure why he dived over, but I know he wasn’t committing suicide because he came up and … other people said he was waving to get help, so that’s not what someone does when they commit suicide,” she said.
Freedman said her grandson, Keion, lives with her father in the Inland Empire.
“Every time he saw me, he would say I love you grandmommy and always hugging me. He was just a sweet person. It would take a lot to make him angry. He was a sweet young man,” Freedman said. “We’re still hoping that … maybe he hung onto a buoy or something. So our hope is that they find him and that he’s OK.”
The man’s younger sister said, “He was my best friend and we miss him and we just want him to be safe.”