Search suspended for woman who fell overboard from a cruise ship in Southeast Alaska

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended a search for a 40-year-old woman who reportedly fell off a cruise ship early Tuesday morning about 20 miles south of Haines.

Petty Officer Ali Blackburn said the decision Tuesday afternoon to suspend the search was based on several factors including the air and water temperature and the amount of time that had passed.

“We searched air and surface searches for over nine hours and covered 68 square nautical miles. And we just didn’t yield any
results or locate any individuals in that area,” she said. “So our decision to suspend the search was made.”

Blackburn said the Coast Guard estimates the woman could have survived only about six hours in the 40-degree waters of Upper Lynn Canal.

The captain of the ship reported the incident after a cruise ship camera showed the woman going overboard at about 3 a.m. Tuesday near Eldred Rock as the ship sailed from Juneau to Skagway, said Blackburn.

The Coast Guard responded with a search by air and by sea — a helicopter from Sitka, a response boat from Juneau and the crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Chandeleur based in Valdez.

“We never enjoy ending a search for somebody,” said Blackburn. “And we want to offer our condolences to the family and
friends of that individual.”

The missing woman has not been publicly identified. The Coast Guard said the incident is under investigation.

The Celebrity Solstice is operated by Celebrity Cruises, and it can carry up to 3,400 passengers and 1,000 crew. It was on the fourth day of a weeklong round-trip cruise from Seattle.

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