Navy ends search for Roosevelt sailor fallen overboard

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The Navy has ended its search for a sailor who fell from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt into the Pacific Ocean last week.

The service ended search and rescue efforts for the missing sailor “and has changed his status to deceased,” according to a statement released Sunday.

The Navy did not release the name of the sailor, though he was identified as Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Ethan Goolsby, 20, in a public Facebook post by his father, Kelly Goolsby.

In his Facebook post, Goolsby said the Roosevelt’s commander, Capt. Eric Anduze, called on Saturday to notify the family that the Navy would be suspending the search and that his son was considered “dead, lost at sea.”

The search ended at sunset on Saturday after the Roosevelt and other Navy and Coast Guard ships and helicopters searched more than 607 square nautical miles for more than 55 hours, the Navy said.

The ship began the search Thursday off the coast of Southern California after a lookout spotted what appeared to be a person in the water, just days after the vessel on Monday set sail from San Diego on a scheduled deployment.

Goolsby said his son was last seen on Thursday during “Morning Quarters” from 7 to 7:15 a.m. following a night shift.

He noted that Anduze told him the Navy and Coast Guard “would continue to remain vigilant for a probable recovery of our son’s remains.”

“We are grateful for the search and recovery efforts related to us by the U.S. Navy,” Goolsby wrote. “We remain hopeful that they will continue to search for our only son’s remains. . . . The family would like to have his body recovered so that a proper burial can be held in his honor.”

He also said that he was told there were two investigations into how his son went overboard.

“We also understand that those investigations will take time and answers will not be immediate. We trust through this difficult process, that the U.S. Navy will remain transparent and will communicate effectively and regularly with any and all new investigation information as it develops,” Goolsby wrote.

Goolsby described his son as someone who was “very proud of the U.S. Navy and the service he was providing to our country” and who had a “kind heart” and “warm sense of humor.”

“The loss of our Sailor is felt deeply by all on board,” Anduze said in the Navy statement. “The entire Theodore Roosevelt team sends our deepest condolences to the family of our missing shipmate.”   

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