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Coast Guard searches for worker missing from cruise ship northeast of Hawaii

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 1:56 p.m. HST, Jan 7, 2014

A 34-year-old Filipino man who was working on the cruise ship Grand Princess intentionally jumped from the vessel Monday night about 1,133 miles northeast of Hilo while it was headed to Hawaii island, a company official said today.

Julie Benson, spokeswoman for Princess Cruises of Santa Clarita, Calif., said the overboard incident was confirmed by the cruise ship's closed circuit video system.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Barber's Point Air Station is searching for the man who was last seen at 10:26 p.m. Monday. The cruise ship changed course and is assisting in the search, as is Princess Cruises' Star Princess ship and the container ship Horizon Reliance.

Benson said the two Princess ships will help in the search for the missing crew member through sunset today.

The Grand Princess, left San Francisco Saturday on a 15-day cruise to the island. The vessel was halfway between San Francisco and Hilo on Monday night, Benson said. It is scheduled to return the West Coast on Jan. 19, and is carrying 2,607 passengers and 1,088 crew. It was supposed to dock in Hilo on Thursday and make port calls in Honolulu, Kauai and Maui before returning to San Francisco.

Coast Guard officials said winds in the search area were about 20 mph, seas were of 7-feet high, and the water temperature was about 70 degrees.

In November, the Grand Princess was involved in another overboard incident when a 54-year-old woman intentionally jumped from the vessel 650 miles northeast of Hilo. The woman's body was never recovered. At the time, the Grand Princess was on day three of a 15-day, round-trip cruise from San Francisco to Hawaii.

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