Update: FBI Investigates Disappearance of Cruise Ship Passenger

December 28, 2008

Update, 8:10 p.m. EST: Despite an ongoing search, Jennifer Seitz -- missing from Norwegian Pearl as of Thursday evening -- still has not been found. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the FBI is now investigating whether or not a crime was committed. Agents interviewed other Norwegian Pearl passengers and searched Seitz's cabin after the ship docked in Miami earlier today.

(1:30 p.m. EST) -- Mexican naval vessels continue the search for Jennifer Seitz (not Feitz, as previously reported), who was declared missing from Norwegian Pearl early Friday morning. Reports are beginning to come in from media outlets such as ABC News of a video showing a woman going overboard at 8 p.m. Thursday evening, but NCL is unable to confirm or deny the existence of such evidence at this time.

Seitz's husband reported his wife missing around 3:50 a.m. Friday morning, having last seen her around 8 p.m. The cruise ship itself continued its course back to Miami, arriving there this morning, while the Mexican Navy and U.S. Coast Guard coordinated the search-and-rescue effort in the waters near Cancun. The area chosen for the search is based on the time and location of the ship when Seitz presumably went overboard.

Although an NCL spokeswoman refused to comment on the case, Nick Ameen, Coast Guard Petty Officer Third Class, confirmed that the Mexican Navy continues to look for the missing woman. U.S. Coast Guard vessels are not currently employed in the search, but the Coast Guard is working with the Mexican authorities to coordinate the efforts.

Ameen reports that it is possible to find people alive after 24 hours in the water; the warm weather and waters off Mexico make hypothermia less likely in this case, but the seven-foot seas that hindered rescue efforts on Friday could have proven life-threatening to Seitz.

We'll keep you posted.

--by Erica Silverstein, Associate Editor

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