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Saturday, Feb 17, 2018
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Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise

A woman sailing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship from Jacksonville fell from her cabin’s balcony and died Friday.

Doral-based Carnival Cruise Line spokesman Vance Gulliksen confirmed the death Saturday, saying in a statement that the incident occurred early Friday morning aboard the Carnival Elation.

The woman, who has not been identified, "fell from her balcony to several decks below," the statement said.

"The ship’s medical team responded immediately, but, unfortunately, she passed away," Gulliksen said in a statement. "The incident was reported to all proper authorities and CARE Team support was offered to fellow travelers and her family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased and her family."

Read more: Girl’s fatal fall aboard cruise ship in Miami raises concerns over safety

The ship, which was on a four-day Bahamas cruise from Jacksonville that departed Thursday, was near Freeport, Bahamas, at the time of the fall.

Tampa resident Maureen La Bryer, whose daughter and son-in-law Megan and Matthew Burdewick are on the Elation, said they texted her about the incident. The Burdewick’s said their cabin was near that of the woman who fell, but Carnival has not yet confirmed on what deck of the ship the women was located.

"We weren’t [allowed] off the boat to Freeport until they investigated it. They were taking pictures [and everything]," Megan Burdewick texted her mother, according to text messages La Bryer shared with the Herald. "...Her room is right by ours and this guy was guarding it the entire day had the door half cracked pitch dark [sic]."

She added that, after the fall, "there was blood everywhere."

In October, an 8-year-old Bahamian girl, Zion Smith, who was tiptoeing over the railing on the fifth floor of the Carnival Glory fell two stories and died. In February, a Georgia man, Kevin Wellons, fell overboard from the 11th deck of the Carnival Elation while the ship was near the Bahamas. After searching more than 1,300 square miles, the Coast Guard called off the search for Wellons a day after the incident.

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Public safety

Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise