U.S. Coast Guard crews continue to search for a 21-year-old Bartlett, Tenn., woman who apparently fell off a cruise ship in the Atlantic Ocean Sunday evening, according to reports.
The cruise ship was about 47 miles east of Fort Lauderdale.
The Coast Guard says the woman, whose name wasn't immediately released, was reported missing Sunday night from the Royal Caribbean vessel Allure of the Seas.
A Royal Caribbean guest witnessed the unidentified Southwest Tennessean going overboard at around 9:25 p.m. Sunday, the cruise liner said in a statement released to FOX13 News. The ship's Captain immediately stopped the ship, turned around, and alerted the U. S. and Bahamian Coast Guard, the news release went on to say.
Search and rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Miami were notified by the Captain of the Allure of the Seas with the report of a missing woman passenger. Crewmembers aboard the Allure of the Seas searched the cruise ship for the woman and reported negative results.
"The ship made multiple public announcements and began a complete search of the ship, in efforts to locate the guest," Royal Caribbean said. "A review of the ship's closed-circuit camera footage observed a 21 year old female guest from the United States going overboard. The location of the ship at the time the guest went overboard was marked on the ship's Global Positioning System (GPS). Two other ships that were close by at the time, the Carnival Fascination and Majesty of the Seas, assisted Allure of the Seas with the search."
Officials say Coast Guard planes, helicopters and boats were searching an area Monday of about 320 square miles.
"At 3:30 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard advised Allure of the Seas that they would be assuming control of the search for the missing guest," Royal Caribbean said. "All ships were also released from the search. Unfortunately, as a result of the time spent retracing the route and conducting the search, Allure of the Seas was unable to make its scheduled port of call to Nassau, Bahamas, on Monday, September 17. Instead the ship will spend the day at sea and will arrive in St. Maarten on Wednesday, September 19, as scheduled."
Assisting in the search is a HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami, C-130 fixed-wing aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., the Coast Guard Cutter Diamondback, and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., that was previously deployed to the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) on Andros Island, Bahamas.
"Royal Caribbean's Care Team is providing support to the guest's family and our thoughts and prayers are with them," the cruise line added. "Allure of the Seas is sailing a seven-night Caribbean itinerary that departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on September 16, with port calls to Nassau, Bahamas; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten."
The Associated Press and the US Coast Guard's 7th District contributed to this report.
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