Coast Guard Calls Off Search For Woman Who Jumped Off Cruise Ship Following 'Hot Tub Incident'
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The search for a 32-year-old woman who went overboard on a Carnival Valor cruise ship has been called off by the Coast Guard.
On Wednesday, February 16, the passenger reportedly jumped overboard from the ship, which was heading to New Orleans from Mexico.
The US Coast Guard called off their efforts at 5.57pm on Thursday, February 17, after searching the 2,514 square nautical miles near where the incident took place.
Details about what happened leading to the woman jumping overboard remain unclear, however, there was reportedly an altercation involving the woman in a hot tub prior to the incident.
Kim Barnette, a passenger on the ship at the time, said, 'Security got her out of the hot tub. Whenever they got to take her into custody, apparently she was upset and went over the rail. And, that was at about 2.30 [sic].'
A search for the missing woman then commenced, with passengers commenting on the aftermath of the situation, The Independent reports.
One user shared footage of the rescue effort, which showed a life ring in the ocean next to a red flare.
Life ring off the stern of Carnival Valor after man over board in middle of the Gulf of Mexico pic.twitter.com/4HdAjMzjt8— Johnny (@johnnytrupp) February 16, 2022
In the video, a person can be heard saying, 'How often do they find people who jump off cruise ships, never?'
The Twitter user then followed up the post with a status saying, 'Just a follow up when someone goes over and drowns in the depths of the ocean while on a cruise ship the party/activities don’t stop.'
The search was later called off, with Chief Warrant Officer Tricia Eldredge saying, 'The decision to suspend a search-and-rescue case is never one we come to lightly.'
'We offer our deepest sympathies to the family during this difficult time,' she continued.
The cruise ship company also issued a statement following the incident, which said, 'Carnival’s Care team is providing support to the guest’s husband who was travelling with her.'
However, this isn't the first passenger to go overboard on a Carnival ship in recent months.
A woman in her 20s is said to have fallen overboard from the fifth-floor balcony of a ship in December. The Coast Guard searched for the passenger for 31 hours before calling off efforts.
While there is no centralised authority that released statistics relating to those who have gone overboard on cruise ships, Ross A. Klein, an associate professor at Memorial University, found in his own research that more than 300 people have gone overboard on cruise ships and ferries in the past 18 years, dating back from 2021.
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