The Coast Guard was searching Wednesday for an upstate New York woman who plunged into the water from a Carnival cruise ship off the coast of Grand Bahama Island.
The missing woman was later identified as 32-year-old Rina Patel of Interlaken, N.Y. She was wearing a white dress with a pink floral pattern when she went into the water, the Coast Guard said.
The passenger “was witnessed jumping overboard” from the 11th deck of the Carnival Ecstasy around 2:30 a.m. ET, Carnival Cruise Line spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz said in a statement."
"Her husband was with her, and she has other family onboard," cruise ship passenger Shannon Parks wrote in a Twitter exchange with NBC News. "They were hysterical. Everyone is just in shock. It's one of those things you hear about but never expect to be a part of."
After nearly seven hours of fruitless searching, the ship was allowed at 9 a.m. to continue on to its final destination, which is Charleston, South Carolina, while the Coast Guard continued to scour the sea, de la Cruz said.
The ship was approximately 15 miles off the coast of Grand Bahama island when Patel went missing and was on the final day of a five-day cruise. Her last port of call had been Nassau, Bahamas.
“The company’s CareTeam is providing assistance and support to the missing guest’s family on board and our thoughts and prayers are with her and family and loved ones during this difficult time,” de la Cruz’s statement read.
Carnival Ecstasy is based in Charleston and runs five to seven-day cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean.