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Coast Guard Searching For Woman Who Fell Overboard Carnival Cruise

LONG BEACH (CBSLA) - United States Coast Guard search crews are looking for a woman who fell overboard a Carnival cruise ship and into Pacific Ocean waters early Saturday morning. They are being assisted in their search by the Mexican Navy, as the woman reportedly fell off near Ensenada, Mexico - about 35 miles off the coast.

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The Carnival Miracle cruise ship left the Long Beach Cruise Terminal on Thursday, December 9 setting sail for port in Ensenada, one of many routine trips for Carnival Cruise Line. It was scheduled to return on Saturday, part of a three-day voyage.

The boat, now scheduled to return early Sunday morning, was thoroughly searched throughout the day on Saturday.

Passengers were awoken at around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday morning to alerts that a person had fallen overboard. That person, a woman whose identity has not yet been revealed, fell from the fifth-floor balcony of her stateroom, and many are concerned that foul play is definitely involved. There are 12 decks on the Carnival Miracle cruise ship.

Daniel Miranda, a Northern California firefighter paramedic and one of the passengers onboard the ship, spoke with CBS reporters while the ship was docked in Ensenada due to the investigation, "Someone has lost their life, whether it was done by accident or by foul play I don't know - there's some high suspicion of foul play. ... A lot of people are concerned because that's somebody's life, and that's a high likelihood that this person will not be found alive."

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Photo of one of the search crews. (Photo Credit: Daniel Miranda)

Crews promptly began searching the waters for the missing woman on Saturday morning. Miranda attempted to help them in their initial searches.

"They immediately did their best efforts to get crews out on little boats and rescue, to start a search," Miranda said. "They had crew literally around the deck to look all the way around the ship to be able to see if somebody was out in the water. They had lights out in the water trying to flash out there, but again it's pretty dark."

Miranda guesstimated that there are around 1,100 passengers on board of the 2,100 passenger capacity for the Carnival Miracle cruise ship.

The cruise line issued a statement on Saturday morning:

"We advised Carnival Miracle guests this morning of an overboard incident involving one of our guests from the balcony of her statesroom. ... Our thoughts are with the guest and her family, and our care team is providing support."

The Coast Guard has utilized many of it's resources, including a Fast Response Cutter - a 154-foot patrol boat - and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew. They indicated that their search will continue throughout the night.

Carnival Cruise Line is a worldwide cruise line that also offers trips out of Los Angeles and Long Beach ports to multiple locations in Hawaii, including Maui, Hilo, Kona and Honolulu, with Carnival Miracle cruises to both Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

As of Sunday afternoon the Coast Guard had called off the search for the woman, stating that they were standing down pending additional information.

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