Cruise ship passengers go overboard

Authorities searched Tuesday morning for a passenger who apparently had fallen off a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Carnival ship Holiday was stopped about one-third of the way as it headed from Mobile, Alabama, to Cozumel, Mexico, and an announcement was made that a passenger might have gone overboard.

The passenger apparently fell about 10.30pm Monday US Central Time.

Passengers, who had been ordered to their cabins for a headcount, later watched as two search boats launched from the cruise ship to search nearby waters in the Gulf of Mexico. A Coast Guard helicopter also had been called.

By early Tuesday, several boats still were hunting with searchlights in calm seas.

In a separate incident Monday, a man found clinging to a buoy after falling from a cruise ship in coastal Florida was rescued.

The Coast Guard said 46-year-old Larry Miller told them he went overboard from the Carnival Inspiration early Monday morning while it was returning to the Port of Tampa. He was found a few hours later clinging to a buoy near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in the St. Petersburg area.

He was brought to the hospital with minor injuries.

Carnival says the man told authorities he slipped after climbing on a railing to get a better view of the pilot boat. The ship was returning from a four-day cruise. The case remains under investigation.