In a viral TikTok video, a Carnival cruise passenger called out the company for their lack of transparency and action after a passenger disappeared on a shover Labor Day weekend.
Kevin McGrath is the 26-year-old man who went missing last week while vacationing on a Carnival cruise with his family, USA Today reported. McGrath was on the three-day cruise to celebrate his father’s 60th birthday. While McGrath was seen dancing at 2 a.m. Sunday and his keycard was used to enter his room at 3:30 a.m., his family became concerned when he didn’t show up for their group breakfast Monday at 7:30 a.m.
His family reported him missing when they couldn’t find him after everyone had disembarked the cruise.
The Miami-Dade police stated that the ship’s overboard detection system never went off, giving them no evidence that McGrath went overboard. A search by ship staff and security has been unsuccessful as well as the U.S. Coast Guard’s helicopter search of 3,300 square nautical miles.
“There’s so many scenarios that run through my head,” Danielle McGrath, Kevin’s sister, told USA Today. “Did he fall somewhere and he’s screaming for help and no one hears him? Did he fall down an elevator shaft? I just don’t know. It’s just anything.”
Kevin was reported missing on a Monday, and the Coast Guard’s search for him was suspended a few days later that same Thursday, USA Today reported.
In the video shared Saturday, Jenn Lyles (@jenn_lyles) explains that while she does not know Kevin McGrath, she was on the same cruise ship as him and his family and has received no alerts, communications, or information requests from Carnival about the unfortunate disappearance.
Instead, she got an email survey from the cruise line asking her to rate her experience.
@jenn_lyles What are we doing to find this man?! HELP!!!! #kevinmcgarth #missingperson #miamiPD #carnivalcruise ♬ original sound – Jenn Lyles
“How about an email that says, ‘Hey, there’s a guy missing. Did you see him? He wasn’t seen past 2 a.m., he never showed up to meet his family for breakfast. This is his photo,'” Lyles says.
Lyles notes she only found out about the disappearance because she was scrolling on her phone and saw a Yahoo News article.
“Is this what happens when you go missing on a cruise ship? They’re not even going to alert the other passengers who might have seen something?” Lyles says in disbelief.
She adds that her friends have been in contact with the family, and they told her that when they post the missing person poster on the Carnival Facebook page, it gets pulled down.
“This is not OK,” Lyles concludes.
The video has more than 630,000 views and over 1,800 comments as of Wednesday morning.
“Yea that’s insane they should’ve definitely alerted everyone…in scared of cruises i haven’t never nothing good at them,” a top comment read.
Cruises have long been shrouded with skepticism and distrust by some people due to the mysterious disappearances of passengers and the murkiness that sometimes arises about what country has jurisdiction when an incident—from disappearance to crime to death—occurs on board.
Between 2009 and 2019 there were reports of 212 people going overboard on a cruise ship, and only 48 of them were successfully rescued, according to a report compiled for Cruise Lines International Association by consulting firm G.P. Wild (International) Limited. That’s about a 23% success rate.
One commenter shared that there is an alleged Facebook group dedicated to the man’s disappearance and some of the very cruise workers allegedly only found out via social media, not from the Cruise line or security.
Others have brought of the case of 23-year-old Amy Lynn Bradley who went missing on a Royal Caribbean International cruise in 1998. To this day she was never found and there are rumors that she’s dead or was sold into sex trafficking.
Several people said that they’ve been on cruises where other incidents have occurred, and it wasn’t communicated to passengers until much later or not at all.
“We had a passenger died on an excursion in Jamaica & carnival didn’t say anything we heard from other passengers,” a person said.
The Daily Dot contacted Lyles, the Miami-Dade Police Department, and Carnival Cruise Line for comment.
Update 1:18pm CT Sept. 14: In an email statement to the Daily Dot, a representative for the Miami-Dade Police Department stated that since the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), Missing Persons Unit (MPU), was only notified of the disappearance after the ship had already disembarked and passengers left, there were no passengers available at the time to be interviewed.
“Otherwise, we certainly would’ve interviewed as many people as we could,” they said.
The department has since sent out a public flyer with specific information indicating when the man was last seen and how to contact their department with information.
“We are still actively working the investigation, and it is open,” the representative added. “Our detectives continuously communicate with his family and are still working with the Coast Guard to develop any further leads. Currently, the Missing Persons sergeant and a detective are in Port St Lucie, FL. meeting with his family. We have been thoroughly investigating all leads and will continue to do so.”
Lyles also responded via email sharing that she was getting notifications from the Carnival app for things like events throughout the cruise stay and said the company should have used that system to alert passengers of the missing person.
“I hope the family gets answers,” she said. “The comments on my video are so disturbing. Apparently, this is common — people missing on cruise ships– and very little is ever done.”
“I’ve cruised often and plan to in the future, but this really makes me think twice about walking around alone (which I often do),” she continued. “Perhaps a ‘buddy system’ is important for future cruises with friends and family.”