Long Beach

Family Members Hold Out Hope That 24-Year-Old Man Who Jumped or Fell Off Catalina Boat Is Alive

The deckhands tossed the man a life ring but they don't believe he caught it. The U.S. Coast Guard is leading the search.

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As Coast Guard crews combed the waters of the Pacific off the coast of Long Beach searching for a 24-year-old man who either jumped or fell off a Catalina Island ferry boat 24 hours earlier, family members held out hope he would be found alive.

Family members identified the man as Keion Dade, a young man with a promising life ahead.

"He'd always say, 'I love you, grandma. I love you…' just … really nice," said Sandra Freeman, his grandmother. "Every time he saw me, he would say I love you grandmommy and always hugging me. He was just a sweet person. It would take a lot to make him angry.

"I'm gonna miss a lot … gonna miss a lot."

His sister Kiami Dade hoped he was safe and warm somewhere.

The man's younger sister said, "He was my best friend and we miss him and we just want him to be safe."

crew members on the Catalina Express saw Keion Dade go overboard Thursday night about 6 p.m. as the boat pulled away from Long Beach, heading toward Catalina Island.

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"Deckhands actually saw some of it, so when they saw him hit the water, they threw a life ring over and … we are looking for him," Greg Bombard, president of Catalina Express, said.

It happened about three miles offshore.

Freedman said he was calling for help but the boat was going too fast.

"They tried to come back and get him, but he was gone," she said.

The LA County Sheriff's Department, which was participating in the search with one of their helicopters, tweeted photos of the mission Friday morning and a caption saying that he "jumped."

The search, involving helicopters and boats, had covered about 120 nautical square miles as of about daybreak, the Coast Guard reported.

His grandmother says it doesn't make sense.

"I don't understand what happened because that's not his personality," she said.

The ship's crew tossed a life preserver into the water, without success.

Freeman holds out hope he could be alive.

"There are buoys out there on the ocean," she said. "So maybe he hung on."

City News Service contributed to this report.

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