Coast Guard searching for passenger missing from cruise ship

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ST. THOMAS - The search continued Thursday night for a cruise ship passenger who was reported missing early Thursday morning, less than a day after his ship departed from a port call to St. Thomas.

Coast Guard search and rescue crews were searching for the passenger, a 42-year-old man from Washington, who reportedly disappeared from the Holland America Line cruise ship Eurodam early Thursday morning while the vessel was traveling from St. Thomas to the Bahamas, according to a press release from Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad.

Castrodad said Thursday evening that the passenger had not been sighted and a search was ongoing.

"We begin a search operation with the expectation that it is possible to find the person alive," Castrodad said. "That, basically, is the primary factor right now."

Coast Guard crews in the San Juan sector received notification from the cruise line at 5 a.m. Thursday that the man had possibly gone overboard, according to Castrodad. The cruise line reported that the wife of the missing passenger alerted the crew of the Eurodam of her husband's disappearance.

The Coast Guard received notification from the Eurodam that a preliminary search of the ship turned up a baseball cap on the ship's deck, according to the release. The wife of the missing passenger confirmed that the cap belonged to her husband, according to the release.

The Coast Guard activated a helicopter crew based out of the Air Station Borinquen on Puerto Rico and diverted the cutters Nantucket, a 110-foot patrol boat based in San Juan, and Decisive, a 210-foot cutter based in Pascagoula, Miss., to search for the missing passenger, according to Castrodad.

The Coast Guard added a fixed-wing aircraft to the search effort later on Thursday, Castrodad said.

Anyone with information about the missing person can contact Coast Guard Sector search and rescue coordinators at 787-289-2041.

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