U.S. ends search for missing cruise ship passenger

Fri Mar 2, 2012 11:56am EST
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MIAMI (Reuters) - The Coast Guard on Friday said it had suspended its search for a 47-year-old Canadian woman who went overboard off the cruise ship Bahamas Celebration on its way from Freeport, Bahamas, to Palm Beach, Florida.

Coast Guard air and sea crews mounted an intense effort for two days before calling off the search Thursday night.

Officials were alerted that the woman was missing by her male cabin mate on Wednesday morning when the ship arrived back in port, said Glenn Ryerson, vice president for sales and marketing at Celebration Cruise line. The man reported that he had not seen his missing companion since 1 a.m. that morning, Ryerson said. Crewmembers aboard the Bahamas Celebration searched the cruise ship for the woman to no avail, the Coast Guard said.

The couple, who were not married, were on the return leg of a four-day cruise and resort stay in the Bahamas, Ryerson said.

The incident is being investigated by the FBI, he added. "So far there is no evidence of anything. We are just in a wait and see mode," he said.

The woman is the fifth person to go missing overboard from a cruise ship this year, according to the Cruise Victims Association, which reports that more than 170 people have gone missing at sea since 1995.

(Reporting By David Adams; editing by Dan Burns)