Cruise Ship Passenger Found Dead off Florida Coast After Falling Overboard

MSC Meraviglia quickly launched rescue operations with the Coast Guard, to no avail.

By Steve Huff

Orlando Sentinel | Getty Images

The body of a 36-year-old woman was recovered from the ocean off the coast of Port Canaveral, Florida, on Thursday morning after she fell overboard from the cruise ship Meraviglia. According to the Coast Guard's southeast district, the unnamed passenger was discovered 18 miles out to sea.

MSC, the company that owns Meraviglia, released a statement about the incident. It said the ship's "advanced detection systems" alerted the crew, which "performed an immediate search and rescue operation, alongside the US Coast Guard who supported search efforts with boats and a helicopter."

"Unfortunately," the statement went on to say, "despite the rapid rescue operation, the passenger sustained fatal injuries. We are offering our full support to authorities as they investigate this matter."

MSC expressed sadness over the incident and offered its "sincerest condolences to the family and those affected."

CBS News reported that passengers were also notified over the ship's loudspeakers.

The Coast Guard found the woman around 7:30 in the morning. CBS quoted a statement from the Guard, which offered its "deepest sympathies" to her family and asked asked "for discretion as we notify the family of this tragedy."

The Daily Mail reported that fights broke out once the Meraviglia — the fifth largest cruise ship in the world, with a 5,000-passenger capacity — docked at Port Canaveral. Passenger Marisa Aebi told the UK tabloid that "fights broke out during the disembark over how long it was taking to get off. They didn't let us off until like 12-12:30.

"Yes it was crazy," Aebi reportedly said, "definitely not something I ever thought I'd experience for sure. People were arrested during disembark for the fights."

Cruise Law News reported that the incident occurred despite the MSC Meraviglia possessing sophisticated automatic man overboard (MOB) technology which immediately sends "a visual and audio signal which alerts the bridge that a person has gone over the rails so that the ship can promptly begin emergency rescue efforts."

TMZ published a report suggesting this was a suicide, but no one from the Coast Guard or cruise line has confirmed the cause of death.

Steve Huff

Entrepreneur Staff

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