Cruise passenger with autism confirmed dead after jumping overboard, allegedly believing 'he was going swimming'

Hope Schreiber
·Writer
Carnival cruise ship Fantasy docked in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo: Steve Starr/Corbis via Getty Images)
Carnival cruise ship Fantasy docked in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo: Steve Starr/Corbis via Getty Images)

A 22-year-old man with autism has been confirmed dead by Carnival Cruise Line. Luke Renner climbed over the rail of the Fantasy ship. The family assumes Renner may have believed he was going swimming, according to Mobile, Ala., news station WKRG.

“Carnival Cruise Line regrets to report that the 22-year-old male guest with autism who was missing on Carnival Fantasy went overboard after climbing over the deck rail,” the cruise line told the news outlet. “His family believes he may have been under the mistaken assumption that he was going swimming.”

In a statement provided to Yahoo Lifestyle, Carnival Cruise Line wrote, “Everyone at Carnival is deeply saddened and our thoughts and prayers are with the guest’s family and friends. Our Care Team is providing assistance and support to his family and traveling companions. The guest’s family has requested privacy. We will not be releasing any additional information and ask the media to respect the wishes of the family.”

Renner’s family released a heartbreaking statement on the loss of the “beloved son, brother, and grandson.” In it, the family writes, “Luke was a light in our lives, funny, unusual, and, for a child with autism, loving and affectionate. He was our boy.”

Luke Renner, 22, died after an incident on a cruise. (Photo: Curran Public Relations)
Luke Renner, 22, died after an incident on a cruise. (Photo: Curran Public Relations)

The 22-year-old, who loved cruises, was on the five-day cruise that departed from Mobile, Ala., on Saturday with the Wishes4Me organization — a special needs community where he lived. Renner’s family is thankful that he was with a supportive community when he died, and the family wishes that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the organization. Wishes4Me is a nonprofit that assists adults who are disabled so they can live a “more active and involved lifestyle.”

Luke is with Jesus now, jumping up and down, and he can express himself clearly, and be understood,” the family told the news outlet. “No more seizures, no more meds. We can’t wait to talk to him. We truly believe he knows he was well loved.”

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