Rescue workers are desperately searching for a teenage girl “in pink pyjamas” who is thought to have fallen overboard from a luxury cruise liner between Mallorca and Menorca today.
According to reports, the passenger in question is American, and she fell overboard this morning somewhere between Mallorca and Menorca in the Balearic Islands.
Emergency services have been looking for the missing passenger since first thing this morning, and at one stage holiday-makers on board the Norwegian Epic liner were asked to line the deck to help spot her.
One of them, Rebekah Sanderlin, tweeted: “I’m on the Norwegian Epic cruise ship in the Mediterranean and we’ve spent all day looking for a passenger who fell overboard last night. People are saying it was an American teenage girl.
“Her parents are the ones who alerted the crew that she was missing. Every passenger on the ship has been searching the waters for her for approx eight hours.
“I think if she was on board she would have been located by now.”
Norwegian Cruise Line, the company which operates the Norwegian Epic tour, confirmed the passenger was missing.
In a statement, the company said: “Early this morning a report was made that an adult female guest went overboard while the ship was sailing from Cannes, France, to Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
“The authorities were immediately notified and a search and rescue operation ensued. The search remains underway. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individual’s family during this difficult time.”
Maritime Rescue had received an urgent call for help at dawn, reporting that a passenger had apparently fallen overboard about 40 miles northwest of Menorca.
A helicopter, a plane and several boats were sent out.
At the time of the incident, the Norwegian Epic was heading towards the port of Palma. A warning of distress has been activated to all navigators in the area.
The ship was scheduled to arrive in Palma, Mallorca, early today after leaving Cannes, France, on Friday but turned round to conduct the search.
Talking to the Weather Channel, Ms Sanderlin said: “At about 8.30am, the captain came on the speaker and said the ship was turning around to go back to look for a passenger who he said they had ‘good evidence’ had gone overboard.
“After about two hours of sailing, he came on the speaker again and said that we were in the area where she went overboard.
“The captain asked every passenger to go to the deck railings and help look for her in the water. He told us she had last been seen in pink pyjamas.
“He did not tell us her age or any other details. Thousands of passengers stood at the rails looking for hours. We have stayed in that location, not moving, all day.
“There are some planes flying overhead but I do not see any other ships or boats.”
It is understood the missing girl was with her parents who went to bed at 1am, and she stayed on the balcony. They discovered she was missing the next morning.
The cruise liner is apparently heading back to Barcelona.
Maritime Rescue say the search will continue throughout the night depending on the weather conditions.
The Norwegian Epic has a capacity of 4,100 passengers, and was as the third-largest cruise ship in the world when it was built.
Its maiden voyage was in 2010.