Cameron Robbins, 18, was celebrating with students from University High Lab School in Baton Rouge when he fell from the Blackbeard’s Revenge sunset cruise at about 11.30pm on Wednesday, a Lousiana State University (LSU) spokesperson told WBRZ.
A massive two-day operation conducted by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and US Coast Guard using helicopters and surveillance aircraft failed to yield any trace of the teenager, and the search was called off on Friday, the Coast Guard said in a statement.
Robbins had arrived in the Bahamas with students from several Baton Rouge high schools on a graduation holiday just a few hours before he disappeared, a parent told WAFB.
Witnesses told the local news site that Robbins was acting on a dare when he fell from the boat.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force has said it is investigating the claims.
Robbins fell from the boat near Athol Island, northeast of Nassau, the US Coast Guard said.
Video obtained by WBRZ appears to show the teenager splashing in the water and swimming alongside the boat before disappearing.
The cruise ship, which is designed to look like a pirate ship, searched for several hours for the missing student, witnesses told the news site.
Robbins’ family flew out to the Bahamas on Thursday, according to WAFB.
In a statement, the family said it was returning to Raton Rouge after the search was called off.
“We want to thank the Bahamas government, the US Coast Guard, the United Cajun Navy, and Congressman Garrett Graves for everything they have done for us,” the statement read, according to USA Today.
“In this time of grief, we thank our family, friends, and well-wishers for granting us the privacy we need to properly remember our son and mourn his loss.”
Friends and school teachers gathered at University High Lab School, which is run by LSU’s College of Human Sciences and Education, gathered for a prayer circle at the school last week.
Robbins’ high school baseball coach Justin Morgan told CNN he was a “fierce competitor” who played third baseman and pitcher.
Kevin George, the director of LSU’s College of Human Sciences and Education, told the network in an interview that Robbins had attended the school for 13 years.
“He’s an athlete, great kid, great smile, great head of hair. Just one of the kids you’re so proud of when they cross the stage,” Mr George told CNN.
In a news release on Friday, the US Coast Guard said: “We were informed by the RBDF this evening that they were suspending the active search efforts pending further developments, and were not requesting further Coast Guard assistance after notifying the Robbins family.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to Cameron Robbins’ family and friends.”
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies