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Body ID’d As Man Who Fell Off Cruise Ship

May 13, 2003

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) _ The body of a man who fell from a cruise ship during his honeymoon was found on an island off the Mississippi coast on Tuesday, authorities said.

Sheriff’s deputies found the body of Matthew Scott Bjorn, 35, of Northport, Ala., after a fisherman spotted the body and radioed the Coast Guard, Petty Officer Jonathan McCool said.

Coroner Gary Hargrove identified the body as Bjorn, who is believed to have fallen from the Carnival Conquest into a shipping channel in the Gulf of Mexico just after midnight Sunday.

Hargrove said injuries to Bjorn’s chest suggested that he may have hit a life boat on the way down, which incapacitated him.

His wife, Renee Bjorn, 37, said that her husband had climbed over the ship’s railing while the couple was attending a party. She said he was trying to climb back over to the inside when he lost his footing and fell from a 10th floor balcony.

``As he slipped, he was smiling at me,″ Renee Bjorn said. ``I tried to help him climb back over.″

Witnesses in the cabin next door told authorities that Bjorn had climbed over the rail during an argument with his wife, said Lt. Robbie Cox of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department. He said the witnesses also said both appeared intoxicated.

Renee Bjorn confirmed that she and her husband were intoxicated but denied that they were fighting.

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