LAURIE BARATTI DECEMBER 15, 2022
A woman perished at sea early Thursday morning after falling overboard the cruise ship MSC Meraviglia while it was roughly 18 miles off the coast from Florida’s Port Canaveral.
At the time the incident occurred, the cruise ship was inbounded on its return trip to Port Canaveral at the tail end of a four-day, roundtrip ‘Caribbean Bahamas’ sailing, which departed on December 11, according to CruiseMapper.
The U.S. Coast Guard launched a rescue search by both boat and helicopter, and crews located the 36-year-old woman’s body at around 7:30 a.m. Thursday.
Upon the woman’s disappearance, emergency notifications were made over the ship’s loudspeaker, and passengers and crew mustered on the deck while the vessel halted in the water. Once the woman’s body had been located and taken by the Coast Guard, MSC Meraviglia continued along its planned course to dock at Port Canaveral.
“Early this morning, MSC Meraviglia’s advanced detection systems alerted our crew to a passenger overboard while the ship was sailing to Port Canaveral. The crew performed an immediate search and rescue operation, alongside the US Coast Guard, who supported search efforts with boats and a helicopter,” MSC Cruises shared in a statement issued to local ABC affiliate WFTV. “Unfortunately, despite the rapid rescue operation, the passenger sustained fatal injuries. We are offering our full support to authorities as they investigate this matter. We are deeply saddened by this incident and offer our sincerest condolences to the family and those affected.”
“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family during this extremely difficult time and we ask for discretion as we notify the family of this tragedy,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard Public Affairs Detachment in Jacksonville, Florida said in a statement provided to CBS News.
The actual cause of this fatal incident is under investigation, the spokesperson said, with the victim’s name and further details being withheld for the time being.
There seems to have been a strange rash of guest emergencies aboard cruise ships in recent weeks. At the end of November, one man was killed and four other passengers injured when a rogue wave struck Viking Polaris, damaging the polar expedition ship and breaking several windows in the process.
On Thanksgiving, a 28-year-old man fell overboard from the cruise ship Carnival Valor after it sailed out of New Orleans the previous day. He, however, survived, having somehow managed to tread water in the Gulf of Mexico without a floatation device for 15 hours, after which he was spotted by a boat and rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter.