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Woman plummets off deck of Florida-bound cruise to her death

Carnival Imagination cruise
(AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

(PORT CANAVERAL, FLA) — A woman’s body was found dead after plummeting off a cruise ship returning to Port Canaveral on Thursday, according to the Coast Guard.

The unnamed traveler, 36, went overboard Thursday morning on the cruise MSC Meraviglia. Her body was retrieved by the US Coast Guard approximately 18 miles offshore from Port Canaveral, according to NBC’s WESH 2.

Immediately after the woman’s descent into waters, the Coast Guard launched a rapid rescue operation by helicopter and boat.

“Early this morning, MSC Meraviglia’s advanced detection systems alerted our crew to a passenger overboard while the ship was sailing to Port Canaveral,” said MSC Cruises in a statement. “The crew performed an immediate search and rescue operation, alongside the US Coast Guard who supported search efforts with boats and a helicopter.”

Upon finding the body, officials discovered the passenger sustained fatal injuries.

“We are offering our full support to authorities as they investigate this matter,” the statement read. “We are deeply saddened by this incident and offer our sincerest condolences to the family and those affected.”

A staffer of the Meraviglia reportedly witnessed the passenger jump off the ship, according to TMZ, but the possibility of suicide is unconfirmed.

The ship was traveling from Ocean Cay in the Bahamas.