Update: Coast Guard Searches for Costa Jumper

March 10, 2008
Update, 2 p.m.: A Costa Cruises statement confirms that yesterday's port call at Key West was missed due to a search and rescue operation for a woman who reportedly jumped overboard; the cruise ship remained on the scene until released by the Coast Guard at 10 a.m. local time on March 9. A spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard tells us the search is still ongoing.

Costa Mediterranea will call at Grand Cayman on Tuesday, March 11, as scheduled.

(March 9, 2008) -- The search is on for a 39-year-old woman reported to have jumped from Costa Cruises' Costa Mediterranea early Sunday morning, according to a Coast Guard press release. According to the release, the ship's crew notified the Coast Guard at 1:18 a.m. that the woman's boyfriend, traveling with her, said "she had become angry and agitated and then unexpectedly jumped overboard."

The ship was 20 miles southeast of Key Largo, Florida, at the time. Costa Mediterranea departed Ft. Lauderdale Saturday for a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise calling at Key West, Grand Cayman, Roatan and Cozumel.

Eagle-eyed member HiiPocket first realized something was up while checking out the ship's Web cam earlier today: "It appears via the Costa Web cam and positioning system that the Mediterranea is heading back to Ft. Lauderdale," HiiPocket posted on the Costa forum. "Was on its way to Key West last night after leaving Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday. Any ideas as to why? Or is this just a Web cam malfunction? Just looks very strange?"

What HiiPocket likely caught was the ship docking in the area where the woman disappeared; Costa Mediterranea stayed put to assist in the search, according to media reports. According to the Coast Guard release, two ships, a helicopter and a plane were also dispatched to the area.

As far as we can tell from the virtual maps on Costa's Web site as of 10 p.m. EST, the ship is back on course.

We'll keep you posted.

--by Melissa Baldwin, Managing Editor