A search is underway for a 32-year-old cruise ship passenger who was reportedly seen going overboard early Wednesday morning, search officials said.
Rina Patel of Interlaken, New York, was standing on Carnival Ecstasy’s 11th deck around 2:30 a.m. when the incident happened, the Coast Guard said in a statement. She was wearing a white dress with pink floral print.
The cruise company said she was seen “jumping overboard,” according to a statement obtained by The Huffington Post.
“Man overboard procedures were initiated immediately along with notification to the U.S. Coast Guard,” the statement says. “The company’s CareTeam is providing assistance and support to the missing guest’s family and our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family and loved ones during this difficult time.”
The ship was traveling southwest of Freeport, Bahamas, when Patel went overboard. Some passengers said they were awakened to a ship-wide alert announcing the emergency.
“It was one of those surreal things where it came on and they said it and you had to stop and think, ‘Did they just say man overboard?’ And then they repeated it four more times,” passenger Shannon Parks told CNN.
Parks, of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, tweeted out photos of small planes carrying out a search just after daybreak. She also described her own heartbreak after seeing the lost passenger’s family.
The search efforts have included a Coast Guard Air Station Miami MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, an Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew and the Coast Guard Cutter Gannet crew, the Coast Guard said.
The ship is expected to dock in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday.
Carnival did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.