Photo courtesy of the Clearwater Police Department
A morning walker in Clearwater Beach happened upon a macabre site on Friday, a body washed up in the surf, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The corpse, clad in shorts and a t-shirt, was later identified as Cliford B. Minej, 27, of Thane, India, a worker on the Holland America Line ship Ryndam. Minej was last seen on the cruise liner at about 3 a.m. the previous Sunday as it approached port in nearby Tampa after a 14-day Caribbean cruise. It is believed he fell or jumped near Egmont Key, an island at the mouth of Tampa Bay, said a Coast Guard spokesperson. His death was declared accidental by the Pinellas County Medical Examiner's Office.
Ryndam's captain did not report Minej missing until the ship docked at 8 a.m., so search crews were initially unsure whether he went overboard or disembarked at the pier. A search of land and sea was called off later that day.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our crew members and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time," a Holland America statement said.
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