A search is underway for a missing Carnival Cruise Ship passenger after she fell overboard into the Gulf of Mexico, officials say.
Samantha Broberg, 33, was only hours into a four-day cruise from Galveston, Texas, to Mexico when she plunged from the Carnival Liberty ship’s 10th deck around 2 a.m. Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a release. The ship was about 200 miles southeast of Galveston.
Broberg's traveling companions reported her missing to the ship's personnel around noon Friday, a Carnival spokeswoman said on Sunday. About five hours later, ship officials confirmed her fall with video and contacted the Coast Guard, rescue officials said.
"The camera footage indicates that the guest was sitting on a deck railing and fell backwards into the water," the spokeswoman told The Huffington Post in an email. "Carnival’s CareTeam is providing support to the guest’s traveling companions and family. We are keeping our guest and her loved ones in our thoughts during this difficult time."
The woman's family told the Houston Chronicle she was a stay-at-home mother to four children in Arlington. Her husband told the New York Daily News he was not on the ship and was traveling home to be with family.
Fellow passengers expressed shock and sadness upon hearing of Broberg's disappearance. The news spread with cruise employees searching the ship room by room.
“Our steward came into our room, checked the closets, checked the bathroom, looked under the bed, looked out on our balcony. I mean, they did a very thorough search,” passenger Jo Trizila of Dallas told NBC. “We knew it wasn’t going to end well when the last few updates, the announcer said, ‘Would you please just keep this family in your thoughts and prayers.'”
Search crews resumed efforts upon first light Sunday morning. They’ve combed more than 3,000 square miles of the Gulf since Friday.
An investigation into how Broberg fell is ongoing, a Coast Guard spokesman told The Huffington Post Sunday.
According to the website Cruise Junkie, which compiles information from news reports, 271 passengers and crew have fallen off a cruise ship or ferry since 1995.
Carnival Cruise Lines holds the record for the most overboard passengers at 56, while Royal Caribbean International comes in second with 40. Carnival did not comment Sunday on those figures.