Family of overboard Catalina Express passenger isn’t giving up the search

Friends and family of Keion Dade, the 24-year-old man who went missing after going overboard off a Catalina Express boat Thursday night near Long Beach, aren’t giving up the search despite authorities calling off their rescue attempts.

Authorities’ search ended Friday after nearly two dozen vessels and aircraft searched more than 600 square miles of ocean, the Coast Guard said in a tweet. But Dade’s sister, Kiami Dade, said she and her family have been going every day since Thursday to the dock where Catalina Express ferries launch to spread the word about her brother, who she described as loving and family-oriented.

“We believe he’s still out there,” she said. “We’re putting pictures out there.”

Keion is part of a large family that is invested in finding him and bringing him home. With 11 siblings, friends and cousins all looking for him, the family has put out fliers and started a social media hashtag, #BringKeionHome, to raise awareness.

The family is also forming its own search party and urging boat owners and divers in the area to help continue to comb the waters in hopes of finding Keion.

The search for Keion started Thursday night at about 6 p.m. when a Catalina Express crewmember reported he was seen jumping from the boat that was headed toward Catalina, Long Beach Fire Department spokesperson Brian Fisk said. Multiple agencies, including Long Beach fire and the U.S. Coast Guard, sent helicopters and boats to search the waters near the area Keion was last seen.

Catalina Express president, Greg Bombard, told reporters Thursday night that deckhands saw the man go overboard from the stern of the vessel.

“When they saw him hit the water, they threw a life ring over,” he said.

Keion’s grandmother Sandra Freemantold told KTLA-TV that he resurfaced in the water. “He was hollering for help but the boat was going too fast. They made a circle and when they came back he was gone.”

Freeman said she didn’t know why Dade would have jumped.

The rescue attempts continued into Friday morning and most of the day until officials called off the search later that night.

Kiami said the family believes that more should have been done to look for their brother, and they are still not sure what led to Keion falling into the ocean.

“It deserves more,” Kiami said. “After 24 hours they told us there was nothing we can do. It’s very devastating. I just want everybody to know how loving and family-oriented he is.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sebastian Echeverry is the North Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of his grant-funded position with the Long Beach Post. If you want to support Sebastian's work, you can donate to his Report for America position at lbpost.com/support.
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