Search halted for Arlington woman who fell off cruise ship

Carnival cruise ship crews searched “hours and hours” of camera footage before they found video of a missing Arlington woman falling from the balcony of a ship’s 10th deck early Friday, the company said.

Samantha Broberg, 33, was reported missing from the Carnival Liberty at noon Friday. FBI agents are investigating the case per “standard procedure” to make sure no criminal laws have been violated, Special Agent Shauna Dunlap, a spokeswoman with the FBI’s Houston division, wrote in an email late Monday.

“The FBI is investigating the death in coordination with Carnival. However, since it is an ongoing investigation we are unable to comment any further at this time,” Dunlap wrote.

The cruise ship departed from its Galveston port Thursday and was headed to Mexico on a four-day trip. Broberg’s traveling companions first reported her missing hours after she fell overboard, Carnival spokeswoman Joyce Oliva said.

“She went overboard during the night and we did not become aware that she was missing until well into the day on Friday,” Oliva wrote in a email Monday.

Carnival crews conducted a shipwide search, which is done unless someone is witnessed going overboard and the crew is advised, Oliva said. This is because the “vast majority” of missing persons reports on cruise ships are false alarms.

Crews simultaneously combed footage from several cruise ship cameras while the search was underway Friday afternoon, Oliva said.

Footage showed a woman fall from the 10th deck at 2 a.m., the Coast Guard reported. The carnival cruise master then contacted the 8th Coast Guard District command center at 5 p.m. Friday.

The video showed Broberg sitting on the balcony railing before she fell overboard, according to Carnival.

“This was a very tragic event. I would like to add that sitting on a cruise ship railing is akin to sitting on the balcony railing of a high-rise hotel. It is very risky and dangerous and against our rules,” Oliva wrote Monday.

Coast Guard aircrews flew HC-144 Ocean Sentrys, twin-engine aircraft from Corpus Christi and Mobile, Ala., over a 60-by-90 nautical mile area after Broberg was last seen on video about 195 miles from Galveston. They ended their Gulf of Mexico search at 8:14 p.m. Sunday after looking a combined 4,300 square miles for her, according to officials.

Broberg’s family declined to comment Monday night, hours after the ship docked in Galveston.

Oliva said technology to deal with passengers going overboard is continually being tested in the cruise industry.

Monica S. Nagy: 817-390-7792, @MonicaNagyFWST