A 21-year old woman from Tennessee fell overboard from a Royal Caribbean International cruise ship Sunday night, and search and rescue operations have commenced.
CNN reports that a witness saw the woman go overboard about 9:25 pm, and closed-circuit surveillance confirmed the report. The captain immediately turned the ship, Allure of the Seas, around to begin a search. Three other cruise ships joined the search before it was taken over by the Coast Guard. The ship left Fort Lauderdale Sunday en route to the Bahamas.
The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports the ship was about 47 miles east of Fourt Lauderdale when the woman went over, and the Coast Guard Search was focusing on an area about 320 square miles in size. The search is expected to go on for some time.
The closed-circuit video feed on the cruise ship helped identify the exact time the passenger went overboard, and with the help of GPS, the exact location. The Coast Guard was notified two hours after the woman fell overboard after verifying that she was not on board.
The Allure of the Seas is an Oasis class ship owned by Royal Caribbean. It can carry 5,400 passengers. The ship left Fort Lauderdale at the beginning of a seven-night Caribbean cruise. Its first port of call was Nassau, Bahamas.
The incident Sunday was the 13th this year involving a passenger or crew member either falling over, or jumping overboard from cruise ships or ferries, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Some cases turn out to be alcohol-related accidents, some are suicides and many remain mysteries.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the search for the passenger who fell overboard from the Allure of the Seas was still ongoing.