Cruise Passenger Missing When Ship Docks in Florida

A Canadian woman is believed to have re-boarded the Celebration Cruise Line ship in the Bahamas, but disappeared sometime before it arrived in Palm Beach. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently looking into the cruise ship incident while the Coast Guard conducts a search of the waters the cruise ship travelled through. Two Coast Guard cutter ships are running a search and rescue operation off the southeast coast of Florida in hopes of finding the woman before it is too late.

The woman was traveling with the man who reported her missing. At 8 a.m., he informed cruise line workers that he had not seen his companion since around 1 a.m. Passengers were disembarking in Palm Beach and the woman had not turned up. Workers immediately searched the ship. When the woman was not found, they contacted law enforcement officials and the expanded search efforts began.

Several air units joined the search, including a C-130 and a Jayhawk helicopter stationed in Clearwater. The aircraft are supporting the two cutter ships, though any hope of rescue decreases dramatically as time passes. If the woman did re-board and later fell into the water, searchers face a difficult task in locating her. A seven hour period covers a massive amount of water.

The cruise industry has faced a rough period of accidents, including the Costa Concordia capsize, the fire onboard the Costa Allegra and this mysterious disappearance. Cruise ship bookings are down and potential passengers cannot be encouraged by the headlines drawing attention all over the world.

Source: CNN, “Searchers scour waters between Florida, Bahamas for cruise passenger,” by Kimberly Segal, 1 March 2012