A 37-year-old father who drowned after falling overboard a cruise ship in the Virgin Islands on Wednesday has been identified as Australian entrepreneur Jon Pfahl.
Mr Pfahl was on board the Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas and was believed to be celebrating his wife Lisa’s birthday when he plunged into the water between St Thomas and St Kitts in the early hours of the morning.
A source close to the family told Daily Mail Australia the couple were holidaying with their two young children at the time.
Friends and family of the couple have been left ‘absolutely distraught’ by Mr Pfahl’s tragic fall and death – with many expressing disbelief at the ‘great bloke’s’ death.
Mr Pfahl grew up in Sydney and attended Knox Grammar School and University of Sydney before working briefly for Goldman Sachs. He later launched his business, ‘Rockstar Group’, which mentors entrepreneurs and invests in companies in Britain.
Through his work, Mr Pfahl met and was photographed with prominent British identities including Richard Branson, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Bob Geldof.
Royal Caribbean said the ship immediately turned around after realising Mr Pfahl had gone overboard and launched a rescue boat.
One passenger said they spotted search lights in the water between 3am and 4am.
The man who died after falling overboard a cruise ship in the Virgin Islands has been identified as entrepreneur and business mentor Jon Pfahl (left), who was reportedly holidaying with his wife (right) and children to celebrate the mother-of-two’s birthday
Mr Pfahl plunged into the water in the early hours of Wednesday when the Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas ship was en route to Saint Thomas. A passenger took this photo of rescue boats retrieving his body from the water
Mr Pfahl’s body could be seen in the water as rescues crews tried to retrieve him, before it was eventually returned to the ship.
Investigations are ongoing about how he fell from the ship, but he was last seen on his balcony.
Mr Pfahl’s friends and family are ‘absolutely distraught’ at his tragic death
Mr Pfahl named his company ‘Rockstar’ after finding his hobby as the lead singer of a rock’n’roll band helped him find the confidence to convince wealthy people to invest their money with him.
‘We are deeply saddened by the tragic incident that occurred on the Symphony of the Seas en route to Saint Thomas,’ a statement from Royal Caribbean said.
‘Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones for their loss, and our care team is providing support and assistance during this difficult time.
‘Upon the initial report that an Australian adult male had gone overboard, our ship immediately turned, launched a rescue boat, and conducted a full-scale search.
‘We are working closely with authorities and will continue to assist in their investigation.’
Pictured: Mr Pfahl with Sir Bob Geldof at a Rockstar Group event
WHAT IS THE SYMPHONY OF THE SEAS?
The Symphony of the Seas is the largest passenger ship in the world, weighing 228,000 tonnes
Built at a cost of $1.35billion in 2015, it has been operated by Royal Carribean International since last year
The ship is able to carry up to 6,680 people and a crew of more than 2000 people
Its Caribbean routes since launch have started in Miami before taking in Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts, San Juan, Sint Maarten and Mexico
The Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas cruise ship was en route to Saint Thomas when the man went overboard
Mr Pfahl named his company Rockstar after finding his role as the lead singer in an amateur rock’n’roll band helped him become more confident in public speaking
The passenger who saw the rescue said there was another cruise ship nearby so it wasn’t initially clear which ship the man had been on.
He said there were no warnings or announcements about a passenger falling overboard.
7News Miami reporter Nickella Battle said she heard news of the Australian man’s death over the ship’s intercom at about 4am – which caused other passengers to ‘stand in their tracks’.
One passenger told Daily Mail Australia the man is believed to have had family with him on-board.
The Australian man was living in the UK, mentoring entrepreneurs and investing in start-up businesses
Mr Pfahl is deeply mourned by his family and entrepreneurs who credit their success to his mentorship
‘We think he was travelling with people because crew members were quickly notified after it had happened,’ another said.
Medical examiners were waiting on the dock when the ship arrived at Saint Thomas.
The Symphony of the Seas is the largest passenger ship in the world, weighing 228,000 tonnes.
Built at a cost of $1.35billion in 2015, it has been operated by Royal Caribbean International since last year.
The ship is able to carry up to 6,680 people and a crew of more than 2000 people.
Royal Caribbean said the ship immediately turned around after realizing the man had gone overboard and launched a rescue boat. Pictured above is the tracking map