Coast guard suspends search for woman who jumped from cruise ship
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Carnival Valor has docked in New Orleans after a woman jumped from a balcony into the Gulf of Mexico.
According to the United States Coast Guard, a 32-year-old woman went overboard on the cruise ship around 2:28 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 16 approximately 150 miles offshore Southwest Pass, Louisiana.
The ship left from Cozumel, Mexico around 3:27 p.m. on Tues., Feb. 15. It returned to dock in New Orleans around 10:30 a.m. on Thurs., Feb. 17.
A spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Line says the guest jumped from her balcony and was not in handcuffs, despite passengers’ early statements.
Cell phone video of the incident obtained by FOX 8 shows three security guards holding a woman’s arms behind her back not cuffed. She gets up and screams the name “Alicia” before being helped up a flight of stairs and off of the pool deck. The video then cuts to moments after the woman jumped, and crews can be seen rushing to the edge of the ship to throw in a life preserver.
It is unclear when during the incident the woman jumped or where from.
Passengers say she jumped off the tenth floor and hit the side of the ship before hitting the water face first. They say the woman disappeared soon after crews tossed life preservers and a flare marking her position.
In photos shared to Twitter and FOX 8, an empty life preserver was seen in the water off the side of the ship.
The ship circled for hours before the Coast Guard took over search and rescue efforts. Around 5:37 p.m., the Coast Guard suspended the search.
“The decision to suspend a search-and-rescue case is never one we come to lightly,” said Chief Warrant Officer Tricia Eldredge, Command Duty Officer at Sector New Orleans. “We offer our deepest sympathies to the family during this difficult time.”
Carnival’s CARE team is providing support to the guest’s husband who was traveling with her, as well as her family.
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