Coast Guard searches for cruise ship passenger

Coast Guard crews are continuing to search Tuesday for a 21-year-old Tennessee woman who fell overboard off Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship 47 miles east of Fort Lauderdale on Sunday night.

Royal Caribbean said in a statement that the Allure of the Seas was bound for Nassau on a seven-night itinerary Sunday when "a guest witnessed another guest going overboard" at about 9:25 p.m.

The ship’s captain stopped, turned around and alerted the U.S. and Bahamian Coast Guard, the cruise company said. Meantime, the ship’s crew reviewed closed-circuit camera footage and "observed a 21-year-old female guest from the United States going overboard."

The cruises ship’s location at the time was marked on the ship’s Global Positioning System, which meant that two other nearby cruise ships — the Carnival Fascination and Majesty of the Sea — where called in to assist with a search.

By early Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard took charge of the search and the three ships returned to their scheduled sails.

Searchers included crew aboard a Coast Guard Air MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and HC-144 airplane called an Ocean Sentry out of Miami, and crews from a Clearwater based C-130 airplane and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Clearwater that was on assignment in the Bahamas.

The Coast Guard said the missing passenger was from Bartlett, Tenn., but did not provide other details. The Coast Guard asked that anyone with information on the missing person contact the 7th Coast Guard District search and rescue coordinators at 305-415-6800.

Meantime, Royal Caribbean said that the search caused the Allure of the Seas to skip its planned Nassau stop and instead sailed for its Wednesday arrival at Philipsburg, St. Maarten, as scheduled.