An American woman aboard a cruise ship sailing in the Caribbean has died in what investigators are treating as a possible murder, according to reports.
The 52-year-old woman plummeted from an upper deck of a Princess Cruises ship onto a lifeboat Tuesday, the Aruba-based newspaper Diario reported. Witnesses reportedly saw the woman struggling with a man who was seen choking her before she plunged from the upper deck.
The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess was sailing between the islands of Curacao and Aruba at the time of the incident.
Princess Cruises confirmed a 52-year-old American woman had died aboard the ship in a statement to USA Today, but did not further elaborate on the circumstances surrounding her passing.
The death "was reported to the local authorities who met and boarded the ship upon arrival. The cause of death is not yet known at this time," Princess Cruises said in the statement. "We are deeply saddened by this incident and offer our sincere condolences to the family and those affected.”
A person claiming to be a passenger posted on a message board of a cruise fan site saying police officers and forensic technicians had gathered on the ship after it arrived in Aruba.
“This morning as we docked in Aruba the captain came on the announcement channel and said that there was a serious incident and no one could leave as local authorities were coming onboard,” the person wrote on CruiseCritic.com. “All morning they have been frantically paging people from lido deck and have security set up outside the hallway to the forward lido rooms.”
Royal Princess is in the midst of a seven-day voyage to the Southern Caribbean out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where it is scheduled to return Saturday.