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Overboard passenger appears to be suicide

/ Source: The Associated Press

A woman who went overboard from the cruise ship Zaandam appears to have committed suicide, Holland America said Tuesday.

"Based on evidence and information to date, it does not appear to be foul play," spokeswoman Sally Andrews said from Seattle. "It appears to be a suicide. Of course, the final determination will be made by the investigating authorities with whom we are cooperating fully"

The passenger was identified as Amber Malkuch, 45, of Washington state, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

"They have confirmed that is the woman we're looking for due to finding her ID on her person," Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said.

Alaska State Troopers were to begin an investigation Tuesday when the cruise ship docked in Sitka. A spokeswoman said the agency was not ready to determine it was a suicide.

"We still have to do our investigation, and we're not going to make any guesses at this time," troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said. "It is too premature to label it anything but a death investigation."

Among those who will be questioned will be Malkuch's traveling companion and anyone else who could help explain how she disappeared off the vessel.

Malkuch was reported missing by a traveling companion Monday morning when the Zaandam was in Glacier Bay National Park, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) northwest of Juneau. She was last seen hours earlier after she ordered room service, when the vessel was near Alaska's Douglas Island.

Malkuch's body was found Monday afternoon after a massive search stretching over 80 miles (about 130 kilometers).

The body was taken to Juneau, and troopers said an autopsy would be standard procedure.

The 780-foot-long (238-meter-long) Zaandam can carry about 1,430 passengers and 600 crew members.