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FBI investigates woman's death aboard Princess Cruises ship sailing to Aruba

Kristine Solomon
Style and Beauty Writer
A view of Royal Princess, the flagship of the Princess fleet, on May 5, 2018. (Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto)

A woman was found dead under suspicious circumstances aboard a Princess Cruises ship sailing in the Caribbean on Tuesday, the cruise line said. The incident happened while the ship — the Royal Princess — was on its way from Curaçao to Aruba.

Princess Cruises addressed the incident in a statement to Yahoo Lifestyle that read: “Princess Cruises can confirm that a 52-year-old, American, female guest passed away early Tuesday morning aboard Royal Princess as the ship was en route to Aruba. The incident was reported to the FBI and local authorities and the local authorities met and boarded the ship upon arrival in Aruba.  We are cooperating fully with the investigating authorities, including the FBI.  An official cause of death has not been announced.”

The company confirmed that the woman’s husband, who was also a passenger on the Royal Princess, exited the cruise ship in Aruba and is cooperating with investigators, according to NBC NewsThe woman’s identity and hometown have not been released; neither have her husband’s. All that’s known is that the cruise ship departed from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on a seven-day excursion on Nov. 9 and is due back there on Nov. 17, as Princess Cruises confirmed to Yahoo Lifestyle.

No official details of the incident have been released, but local news outlets in Aruba are reporting accounts from witnesses. According to one news site, Diario, “a ‘muscular’ man was struggling with the woman and suddenly began choking her. After that, he reportedly pushed her over the railing.” Security video has allegedly been shared with law enforcement, according to the Curaçao Chronicle.

Meanwhile, fellow passengers aboard the Royal Princess are discussing what could have happened on a cruise ship message board.  According to one person, an announcement came through the PA around 4:30 a.m. alerting security personnel to gather on deck 7 a.m.; the announcement was broadcast into passengers’ cabins too. Later in the morning, another alert came through, telling passengers “there was a serious incident and no one could leave as local authorities were coming onboard.” At 8:45 a.m., forensics vans showed up, the passenger wrote. The ship was reportedly being treated as a crime scene.

A second passenger reported that by 5:35 p.m., local authorities had removed the body. One person who spoke with the Curacao Chronicle said, “We can literally see the lifeboat from our room. Blood and broken glass all over it.” Others described the reported scene as “gruesome.”

On Facebook, a passenger wrote to Princess Cruises, “The lady that died hit the lifeboat outside our [balcony] on Emerald deck … We find this incident to be quite distressing but your crew in general handled it well. However we were surprised that no one came to see if we were OK since we are so close to the impact.”

The Aruba police, Korps Politie Aruba, also took to Facebook to confirm the investigation, writing: “The police force for of Aruba are conducting an investigation on the cruise line of Royal Princess today. A woman died of unknown causes. The investigation is still going on today.”

An autopsy will reportedly be done to determine the woman’s cause of death, the Curaçao Chronicle reported. A spokesperson for the FBI told Yahoo Lifestyle the agency does not comment on open investigations.

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