Search suspended for woman who fell overboard from a cruise ship in Lynn Canal

Although most people imagine the crews of Coast Guard Air Station Sitka routinely plucking mariners from sinking ships, the most common mission is the non-maritime medevac in flight conditions too treacherous for any other aircraft than the all-weather Jayhawk. Air Station Sitka also performs more terrestrial Search and Rescues (lost hunters and hikers) than any other unit in the Coast Guard. (Photo by Emily Russell/KCAW)
A Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Station Sitka performing a training flight. A similar helicopter is looking for a woman who fell overboard a cruise ship on May 17, 2022. (Photo by Emily Russell/KCAW)

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for a 40-year-old woman who reportedly fell overboard from the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship early Tuesday morning near Eldred Rock in the upper Lynn Canal.

Petty Officer Ally Blackburn said the captain of the ship reported the incident after a cruise ship camera showed the woman going overboard at approximately 3 a.m. Tuesday as the ship sailed from Juneau to Skagway.

The search included a helicopter from Sitka, a response boat from Juneau and the crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Chandeleur based in Valdez.

“Because of the searching that we’ve done, it has yielded negative results,” Blackburn told the Associated Press. Survival time in the cold waters of Lynn Canal is a little over 6 hours according to Blackburn.

The missing woman has not been publicly identified. The Celebrity Solstice is operated by Celebrity Cruises, can carry up to 3,400 passengers and 1,000 crew. It was on the fourth day of a week-long round-trip cruise from Seattle.

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