A passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship was in stable condition Wednesday after being plucked out of the water near the Bahamas, the cruise line said.

  • Passenger goes overboard from Port Canaveral cruise ship
  • Witness says woman was plucked from water near Bahamas
  • Norwegian cruise line: Passenger in stable condition

The passenger was reported overboard Tuesday night from the Norwegian Epic, which returned to its home port of Port Canaveral at about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, an hour late.

The ship then slowed to a stop and maneuvered to allow the crew to search for the missing passenger.

"It was like if you were trying to stop and had warped rotors," said John Merritt, 41, of Indianapolis, who said via electronic message that he was on board the Epic for a vacation and witnessed the search. He said the missing person was a woman, and she could be heard crying out from the water for help.

As life boats searched for her, about eight to 10 passengers yelled out from their balconies to the woman to not give up and to keep calling out for help, said Merritt, who added that there were a number of college spring breakers aboard the ship.

"I can’t get her cries for help out of my head," Merritt said.

After she was rescued, she was taken to the ship's medical facility, Norwegian Cruise Line said, and taken for additional medical attention on land once the ship arrived at Port Canaveral.

"We are thankful that our team reacted quickly and was able to rescue the guest. Our thoughts and prayers are with the guest and their family as they embark on the recovery process and our CARE team is providing support and assistance during this time," Norwegian said in a statement.