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Irish Man Who Went Overboard on Atlantis Gay Cruise Identified: Family Seeks Answers

Last Friday I posted about a man who went overboard on the 'Allure of the Seas' Atlantis gay cruise off of Cozumel, Mexico in the Caribbean. That man has now been identified as 30-year-old Kenneth John Gemmell, a native of Bailieborough, Co Cavan, Ireland. Gemmell was a flight attendant with UAE airlines stationed in Dubai.

GemmellIn a statement, Royal Caribbean indicated that Gemmell was seen going overboard at 7:10 am local time and that fact was confirmed by surveillance cameras aboard the ship.

Edward Owen at The Examiner reports that the family is seeking information to bring some closure to their situation:

They are issuing an appeal to anyone on board the ship who might have met Kenneth during the cruise, to touch base with them.  And they particularly would like to hear from the person who witnessed him going overboard.  The family has said they want nothing more than to understand what drove their son, who had just turned 30 last Tuesday, to this.

The family says that some information has already come their way.  One party told them that Kenneth may have been arguing with a ship's crew member (perhaps a bartender) in one of the bars late Thursday night or early Friday morning.  They were also told that the crew member, a man they understood was sharing a room with a Canadian citizen, left the ship in Cozumel.

Because of the lack of information, a family spokesman told that some members of the family are finding it hard to accept that Kenneth actually went overboard.

Anyone who has information on this tragedy is asked to email Michael at  The family says they just want to know what happened to their son.

Ireland's Daily Celt has also confirmed the man's identity.

Just a suggestion, but perhaps Royal Caribbean could share their CCTV footage with the family if, as they say, they have it.

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  1. I smell murder. Where is this "guest on-board the ship saw the man fall overboard at 12.10pm (7.10am local time)" and the report of the closed-circuit tapes says that a man was seen going overboard, but the report doesn't say if he fell or was pushed.

    Posted by: Calvin | Feb 8, 2012 7:28:29 PM

  2. Give me a break. The guy jumped. He was obviously suffering from some inner demons.

    It's not an Agatha Christie novel.

    Posted by: endo | Feb 8, 2012 7:34:15 PM

  3. In Dec 2010, I went on a Bahamas Celebration cruise with my sisters and parents. I'm sorry but THAT SHIP WAS NOT SAFE. One night we were traveling at high speed over the horrifyingly dark and expansive ocean and DRUNK people were out carousing on a lower deck while the ship rocked to and fro (as ships do) and a stiff wind whipped against us. Most horrifying of all: the rail separating us from the water below only reached up to my HIPS and I am not super tall (5'10.5"). To recap: way-too-short rail, hard winds, rocking ship, plus inebriated passengers, to boot. I felt unsafe out there as a completely *sober* individual. I left the deck area after realizing that staying out there was a recipe for disaster.

    If anyone falls off those ships--especially in the middle of the night with no lights shining out onto the water to aid in quick spotting of overboard people--they are good as dead.

    Cruise ships--at least that one--scare the shyt out of me.

    Posted by: redball | Feb 8, 2012 7:37:49 PM

  4. The family has said they want nothing more than to understand what drove their son, who had just turned 30 last Tuesday, to this.

    Did him jump or fall?

    Posted by: Edd | Feb 8, 2012 7:51:25 PM

  5. Redball, comparing the Allure to the Bahamas Celebration is like comparing a 2012 Mercedes 550 to a 1985 Yugo. Yes, there are always risks when one cruises. Sadly, this situation is either an intentional suicide, or an alcohol related accident (meaning he did not intend to go overboard).

    Arguing with a bartender usually involves being cut off. I doubt he had a relationship with the bartender. It happens but most crew members are not willing to take the risk.

    I agree with Endo, we don't need Miss Marple or Jessica Fletcher to figure this out.

    Posted by: Angela Channing | Feb 8, 2012 7:54:05 PM

  6. Angela, I wasn't comparing the two. Just saying that if all cruise ships are as "safe" as the BC one I went on, thank you but I'll pass and try to live me a good long life!!

    Posted by: redball | Feb 8, 2012 7:58:20 PM

  7. The railings on the Allure went up to my chest and I am 5'10". I read that the camera clearly saw him jump and they found a table moved up to his balcony railing.

    Posted by: JP | Feb 8, 2012 8:14:12 PM

  8. If the CCTV recordings will be released from them, it make it easier to confirm whether it was an argument or was he doing speed or LSD that led him to up. Sad all around

    Posted by: Chris_ | Feb 8, 2012 8:22:08 PM

  9. Unfortunately, I don't really understand how this is news. There are dozens of people who die every year on cruises, many going overboard, the exact circumstances of which are never known. It happens so often, the stories are rarely considered news

    Posted by: Mike C. | Feb 8, 2012 8:30:55 PM

  10. MIKE C:
    Gay blog. Gay cruise. Dead gay man. Are you following any of this yet?

    Posted by: Jerry | Feb 8, 2012 8:38:14 PM

  11. Haha yup, true

    Posted by: Mike C. | Feb 8, 2012 8:39:57 PM

  12. Hopefully Jessica Fletcher was on the cruise with her gay nephew.

    Posted by: Rance | Feb 8, 2012 8:56:22 PM

  13. @JP, where did you read that he jumped? Please site the source.

    Posted by: Edd | Feb 8, 2012 8:57:37 PM

  14. Poor unfortunate soul...

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Feb 8, 2012 9:02:32 PM

  15. According to most of the stories I'm reading, the video shows him jumping, not being pushed. @EDD, if you need a source, try clicking the links conveniently located in the article.

    Posted by: Joey Y | Feb 8, 2012 9:06:29 PM

  16. Dear Towleroad commenters,

    I was onboard this Atlantis cruise. Until this happened, the cruise had been totally fun and totally uneventful. Everyone was having a great time, and the cruise was going without a hitch - no foul ups, no medical emergencies, nothing. Then this happened. A witness out on his balcony saw the man in the water and immediately called 911. All of us on the ship were "mustered" at 730 AM - awakened and summoned to our lifeboat stations - to take roll call to find out who was missing. After we were dismissed, we went back to bed. Later in the day we found out that the Coast Guard and other services had called off the search after hours of looking. The Captain made a somber announcement.

    I spoke with many crew members. The upshot is this: No One Knows What Happened. All that is definitely known is that cameras saw the man going overboard, evidently jumping on his own. That's all anyone knows. Anything else is pure rumor and speculation. But I do know this: everyone onboard was shocked and saddened by this. It wasn't the greatest way to end an otherwise great vacation.

    I respectfully urge the commenters here to respect the man, tp pray that he rests in peace, and refrain from posting speculative comments. We will probably never know what really happened.

    Posted by: Frederick | Feb 8, 2012 9:09:13 PM

  17. I was also on this Atlantis cruise and I second everything that @Frederick posted.

    Posted by: MykeTV | Feb 8, 2012 9:18:02 PM

  18. Source...

    Posted by: JP | Feb 8, 2012 9:41:36 PM

  19. Thank you Frederick! I too was on the ship and feel the same.

    Posted by: frank | Feb 8, 2012 9:56:15 PM

  20. I too was on the allure. I can only echo was was already stated, and that there is probably not a single one of us who didn't stand at our rail on the balcony, one that came to chest height and I'm 6'1", and not wonder how one could "fall" overboard. He would have had to be incredibly drunk or high AND totally out of control, or he went on purpose.

    I heard from a few people that the reason it took do long to identify him and contact his family is because the information, emergency contacts and ID he gave was all false. Which would point towards a premeditated suicide. People falling overboard is a farely "common" occurance so there's no need for a "cover up" or secret agenda on the part of the ship and crew.

    People are always confused and stunned when people take their own lives, especially when no body is recovered. But nobody on board staged everything that happened to create some mysterious diversion or cover up. This was real life, not Hollywood.

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Feb 8, 2012 10:14:34 PM

  21. There were lots of disturbing rumors, one of people doping drinks with hallucinogens. Not out of the realm of possibility, especially if he didn't leave a note.

    Posted by: Rob | Feb 8, 2012 10:43:03 PM

  22. I, too, was on the cruise. Frederick is right.

    I had an outside balcony room. The rails are plenty high to prevent an accidental "slip" overboard.

    It was tragic and unfortunate and no one took the situation lightly.

    My muster station easily had 500 people. There were some boys who had obviously not yet gone to bed... and yet NO ONE took the situation lightly. There was no joking or horseplay.

    There are only rumors about him jumping/falling while goofing around/suicide, etc... we do not know. RCCL says they're cctv camera shows it was not accidental - they will probably release to family.

    It seems the plea from his family is: If any guests on the cruise had spent time with him that might explain why he may have went overboard, please share with them. They're probably struggling with what could make this happen... Their anguish is unthinkable...

    Posted by: Jeff | Feb 8, 2012 10:54:02 PM

  23. So happy that you are NOT making fun of this. Glitter in the water is what was reported before. It's a human life. Get over yourself.

    Posted by: Michael | Feb 8, 2012 11:02:12 PM

  24. Cruises, especially gay cruises are so tacky....

    Posted by: Ron | Feb 8, 2012 11:10:20 PM

  25. I was also on the ship and my husband and I were heading up to the 16th floor to enjoy coffee and sunrise when the alert was called. I echo what most of the other passengers and the reports are saying and would only add that I believe the incident occurred on the public deck at the end of the ship on deck 11 and not from his stateroom balcony as reported. That public deck was taped off with crime scene barrier tape after the incident and remained closed for the rest of the cruise. The identical deck on the 11th floor on the other side of the ship remained open and had a CCTV camera watching that entire public area, while stateroom decks did not. I don't know what this information adds but I wanted to set the record straight.

    Posted by: D2B2 | Feb 8, 2012 11:11:29 PM

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