Search interrupted for missing cruise ship operator in the Gulf of Mexico | national news

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for a cruise ship passenger who jumped off her balcony into the sea and is missing in the Gulf of Mexico.

A plane was searching off the coast, but Coast Guard officials said late Thursday the search was called off after crews searched more than 2,514 square nautical miles.

“The decision to suspend a search and rescue case is never taken lightly,” said Chief Warrant Officer Tricia Eldredge, New Orleans Area Command Duty Officer. “We offer our deepest condolences to the family at this difficult time.”

The Coast Guard received a call Wednesday afternoon that a 32-year-old woman had fallen overboard from the Carnival Valor cruise ship about 150 miles (240 kilometers) from Southwest Pass, Louisiana, authorities said. .

The woman jumped into the ocean from her balcony while the ship was at sea, said Matt Lupoli, spokesman for Florida-based Carnival Cruise Line.

“Vessel command immediately began search and rescue procedures, returned to the area near where the incident occurred and notified the US Coast Guard. Carnival’s CARE team is supporting the guest’s husband who was traveling with her, and her family,” Lupoli said in a statement.

Brandon D. James