Man who jumped off cruise ship ID'd as Army sergeant from Jacksonville

31-year-old leaped from 10th-floor deck of Carnival Fascination

Published On: Aug 30 2012 05:15:37 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 30 2012 04:24:37 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The search was suspended Wednesday evening for a 31-year-old Army sergeant from Jacksonville who authorities said jumped from the Carnival Fascination cruise ship early Tuesday.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, Ronald Kemp was reported overboard from the ship just after 2 a.m. about 25 miles off the coast of New Smyrna Beach. Officials said crew members saw Kemp leap into the water from a 10th-floor deck and fall about 87 feet into the water.

Kemp, 31, was assigned to Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield in Fort Stewart, Ga.   Base officials told Channel 4 Kemp had been in the Army for seven years and served two tours in Iraq as an artilleryman with the 1st Calvary Division.

Crews searched for Kemp by boat and helicopter the morning after the Fascination left the cruise terminal in Jacksonville en route to Key West.

The Coast Guard said it is investigating what happened.