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Search ends for Canadian missing off Florida cruise ship

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for a Canadian woman reported missing from a Florida cruise ship.
The cruise ship Bahamas Celebration was on an overnight trip from Freeport in the Bahamas to the Port of Palm Beach

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for a Canadian woman reported missing from a Florida cruise ship.

The 47-year-old woman was on the Bahamas Celebration, which was travelling 135 kilometres from a stop in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island to the Port of Palm Beach, just north of West Palm Beach, Fla. She has been identified only as a Canadian and hasn't been named.

The coast guard said its search covered 18,897 square kilometres. It involved at least two coast guard aircraft, four coast guard cutters, a U.S. National Guard aircraft and air and sea rescue crews from the Bahamas.

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The woman's boyfriend, whose identity also hasn't been released, had alerted personnel with the Florida-based Celebration Cruise Line on Wednesday morning, as the ship was arriving in Florida, that the woman had disappeared, company president Charles Kinnear told reporters Thursday.

Search and rescue co-ordinators at Coast Guard Sector Miami were notified by the ship's captain, and a search was begun. Crew aboard the Bahamas Celebration also searched the cruise ship for the woman without success.

Her boyfriend reported he had left her at a gift shop at about 1 a.m. while he went to an on-board casino before returning to their cabin.

Media reports say that when her boyfriend cashed out and returned to his room, she wasn't there.

The man went to sleep and raised the alarm when he woke up and found she still wasn't in their cabin, Kinnear said.

"The way he explains it is he went to the casino and got back to his room," CBS reported Kinnear as saying. "He went to bed, and she still wasn't there. And when he woke up in the morning, she still wasn't there. He walked around the ship for a while before he decided to come and tell us."

By then the ship was in port. It docked between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Kinnear told reporters the ship would have been stopped and turned around to look for the woman if personnel had known earlier that she was missing.

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