Passenger shares experience on cruise ship with suspicious death
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As the FBI investigates the death of a woman aboard a cruise ship that ports in Charleston, one passenger shared what she heard the night of the death.
The Carnival Sunshine arrived in Charleston on Saturday after leaving on Feb. 27 for a five-night cruise to the Bahamas.
Crew and staff were made aware of an unresponsive woman during the cruise and attempted life-saving measures, but the woman was pronounced dead on the ship, according to the FBI. It’s not clear exactly when the woman died.
Hannah Hierholzer, a passenger aboard the ship, remembers hearing calls over the ship’s intercom in the middle of the night.
“They called several times over the intercom, ‘Medical Response Team’ to room whatever, and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s weird, maybe that that happens all the time,’ because there’s old people on cruises with a health problem or something,” Hierholzer says. “But after that, like, we heard nothing about this at all.”
Once the ship returned to Charleston on Saturday, members of the FBI Evidence Response Team responded to process the passenger’s room.
Officials said the incident was isolated and there was no threat to the other passengers.
“It also makes you feel a little uncomfortable that it was that well-hidden,” Hierholzer says. “The whole cruise had no idea that it was even, like, a death in general; like, somebody died on the boat last night, but no.”
A spokesperson for Carnival provided a statement on the incident on Sunday:
The FBI joined Carnival Sunshine upon its return to Charleston yesterday morning to conduct an investigation into the death of a guest. Both the deceased and her husband were debarked in Nassau and Bahamian authorities have already investigated the circumstances and are conducting an autopsy. We are fully cooperating. This is a matter for authorities in The Bahamas and Charleston and we have no further comments.
“It doesn’t change the fact that I would like go on another cruise but I certainly wouldn’t walk around alone anymore on the cruise ships. I’m thinking if there’s somebody who has like a weapon or something on a cruise, you know, it’s one ship. You’re kind of stuck with everybody on there,” Hierholzer says.
The Charleston County Coroner’s Office has not yet released the identity of the victim.
Authorities are continuing to investigate the incident.
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