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Coast Guard suspends search for woman who fell overboard from R.I. ferry; crews shift to recovery effort

Several passengers reportedly saw the woman fall into the water from a Prudence Island ferry on Monday night.

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island on Tuesday as crews shifted into a recovery mission for the body of a woman who reportedly fell overboard from a ferry the night before.

According to WBZ, several passengers aboard the Prudence Island ferry reported seeing the woman fall into the water on Monday night.

Search crews said the water temperatures were “hypothermic” and it wasn’t clear whether the woman was wearing a life jacket, the station reports.

Bristol Fire Chief Michael DeMello told reporters on Tuesday the ferry was en route to Prudence Island at the time of the incident and was about halfway through its journey. A life ring was deployed, DeMello said.

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Police are also investigating what happened, he said.

“Certainly loss of life is a tragedy …. We’re hoping that we can recover her today and kind of bring that life to a close,” DeMello said.

The Coast Guard, in tweets on Monday night, wrote that units from the Castle Hill and Cape Cod stations were conducting the search alongside the Narragansett Bay Marine Task Force.

Coast Guard “Cutter Coho is en route and will search throughout the night after relieving STA Castle Hill,” a tweet posted around 10:41 p.m. reads. “CG Air Station Cape Cod and CG STA Castle Hill will return to base and continue searching at first light.”

A tweet posted shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday confirmed those units had rejoined the effort.

But by noon, the Coast Guard said the search had been suspended “pending further information.” In total, crews had searched for 10 hours and across 39 square nautical miles with no sign of the woman.

High winds made the search effort difficult on Monday night.

“It was pretty windy,” DeMello said. “The seas were pretty rough.”

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