Tourism & Cruises

U.S. Coast Guard suspends search for woman who fell from cruise ship

The Coast Guard cutter Alligator and a fixed-wing Coast Guard aircraft continue the search for Kaylyn Rose Sommer, who fell from a chartered party cruise ship 22 nautical miles off the coast of Cuba Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015.
The Coast Guard cutter Alligator and a fixed-wing Coast Guard aircraft continue the search for Kaylyn Rose Sommer, who fell from a chartered party cruise ship 22 nautical miles off the coast of Cuba Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015. Miami

After covering nearly 1,400 square nautical miles in search of a woman who fell from a cruise ship, the U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Saturday morning.

Authorities said Kaylyn Rose Sommer, 24, of Charleston, South Carolina, fell overboard from a Norwegian Cruise Line ship at around 7 p.m. Thursday about 22 miles off the coast of Cuba. The company said in an email Friday that Sommer jumped intentionally from the ship, the Norwegian Pearl. The cruise was hosting an electronic dance music festival called the Mad Decent Boat Party.

Sommer has a 6-year-old daughter. Coast Guard officials offered their thoughts and prayers Saturday in a statement.

“We are all sons and daughters, and many of our responders have young children themselves. Suspending search efforts is always a painful decision, particularly when it involves a young mother,” said Capt. Todd Coggeshall, Incident Management Chief at the Coast Guard's Seventh District.

Officials said Sommer fell from a height of more than 80 feet above the water.

Several vessels, including the Coast Guard Cutter Alligator, aircrews aboard an HC-130 from Air Station Clearwater and an HC-144 from Air Station Miami, and a Cuban Border Guard, participated in the search.

The incident marks the second time in a week that someone has fallen from a cruise ship.

Last Friday, 35-year-old Bernardo Elbaz fell from the deck of a Royal Caribbean ship. The fall was captured on video, where Elbaz can be seen clinging to a lifeboat rafter off the ship’s side as passengers try to save him before he falls into the sea. The Coast Guard called off the search for him the next day.

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