The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said it was an isolated incident and passengers weren’t in danger. Yet, according to a statement issued Monday, the agency is investigating a woman’s “suspicious” death during a cruise on the Carnival Sunshine between South Carolina and the Bahamas.
According to an FBI press release from the Columbia, South Carolina field office, on February 27, Carnival Sunshine staff investigated a report of an unresponsive woman passenger. The woman was pronounced dead despite the efforts of crew members and medical staff.
CBS News reports that on Sunshine‘s March 4 return to the U.S., the FBI boarded and investigated the cabin where the woman was found. Carnival is reportedly cooperating in the investigation, which is also under scrutiny by authorities in the Bahamas. The FBI noted in its release that it typically investigates “certain crimes on the high seas,” which can include an American’s death in questionable circumstances.
The FBI can investigate many serious crimes on the high seas, including piracy, terrorism, hijacking, and drug trafficking. Still, the agency’s authority to investigate is limited to certain types of offenses and situations and is subject to various legal and practical limitations.
Hannah Hierholzer, who said she was a passenger on the same cruise, told Charleston TV station WCSC that there were several calls over the ship’s intercom for a medical response team. She said she thought, “‘Oh, that’s weird, maybe that happens all the time,’ because there’s old people on cruises with a health problem or something.”
CNN quoted Carnival spokesperson Matt Lupoli, who said in part that “the deceased and her husband were debarked in Nassau and Bahamian authorities have already investigated the circumstances and are conducting an autopsy.” Otherwise, he said that Carnival is “fully cooperating.”
“This is a matter for authorities in the Bahamas and Charleston,” Lupoli stated, “and we have no further comments.”