Aussie dad falls overboard on family cruise holiday
An Australian man who died after he fell overboard on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has been identified as Sydney entrepreneur Jonathan Pfahl.
Mr Pfahl, 37, drowned after falling from the Symphony of the Seas as the ship made its way from St Kitts to St Thomas in the Caribbean early Wednesday morning.
The ship launched a rescue boat and Mr Pfahl's body was recovered after a full-scale search.
It is understood London-based Mr Pfahl, who grew up in Sydney, was holidaying with his wife and two young children at the time.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic incident that occurred on the Symphony of the Seas en route to St Thomas," Royal Caribbean told news.com.au in a statement.
"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."
It is unclear how he fell overboard and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been contacted.
Mr Pfahl, who attended Sydney's Knox Grammar School and the University of Sydney, founded the British-based company Rockstar Group, which mentors entrepreneurs and invests in businesses.
"He was a businessman who helped so many start ups around the world," friend Lee McAteer told news.com.au
"He helped businesses get off the ground by helping to provide loans to help get the business started. I was introduced to him in Liverpool (in the UK) and we hit it off straight away."
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Absolutely stunned to hear that Jonathan Pfahl has tragically passed away. JP was a true rockstar and helped so many people get their businesses going. In 2015 he was named in the #Maserati100 Will never forget our time at #gumball3000 or your bet on Donald Trump or making us invest in an F1 car! RIP my friend and keep partying up in the skies. Thoughts are with all your beautiful family. #JP #JonPfahl #JonathanPfahl #GumballRally #RIP
Mr McAteer said he was due to meet with Mr Pfahl shortly after he arrived home from the cruise to attend a football game back in London.
"He was incredibly ambitious, a mentor to so many people who loved his family. He had his own band. He was incredibly charismatic who inspired everyone around him.
"I have huge respect for JP, (he) always had incredible ideas and I loved hanging out with him. I am truly shocked and saddened.
"The world has lost a brilliant, innovative and caring family man who was an inspiration to everyone around him."
Mr Pfahl moved to London in 2005 to pursue his career in finance. In an interview with UK website Australian Times, the businessman said his first investment was "into a three-month mentoring program with a multi-millionaire property investor".
In the 2015 interview, Mr Pfahl spoke of his Australian wife, and while he loves to visit Sydney, "London is home".
Another friend, Karen Gould, said Mr Pfahl - who was nicknamed JP - was a " mentor", a "great rock star" and "loved life".
"I am devastated by the news," Ms Gould, who was also on holiday when she found out about Mr Pfahl's passing, told news.com.au.
"He was a loyal friend who believed in me when I had lost faith in myself. I went on to become his friend and worked for him.
"He was a great entrepreneur who inspired many other young entrepreneurs with his inspiration and motivation. He was a loving father and husband and he did live life like a rock star. He was known as JP the legend."
The US Coast Guard said it wouldn't investigate the incident as the ship was registered to the Bahamas, the man was not a US citizen and the death happened in international waters, the Miami Herald reported.
The ship was on a seven-day cruise through the eastern Caribbean and was due to return to Miami, Florida on Saturday. The man's body will remain on the ship until it returns to Miami.
Last year, 23 people went overboard on cruise ships and only four bodies were found, according to the Herald.