An American woman who reportedly fell off a cruise ship and disappeared could be alive in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Coast Guard said Saturday.
Authorities are searching for Jennifer Seitz, a 33-year-old passenger on a cruise liner who vanished Thursday night as the ship roamed the waters off Cancun, Mexico.
There is a good chance Seitz is still alive if she is in good physical condition and grabbed a flotation device before she fell, said Petty Officer Nick Ameen, a Coast Guard spokesman.
Water temperatures in the Gulf are relatively warm — somewhere in the mid-70s — so hypothermia would not pose a danger to her.
The Coast Guard and Mexican Navy are conducting independent searches for Feitz, but the search is made difficult by the eight-hour window during which she could have fallen overboard, the Coast Guard said.
Seitz, who may be a Houston resident, was last seen at roughly 8 p.m. EST Thursday, though her husband reportedly did not notice her missing until 3:50 a.m. the following morning.
Her husband informed the ship's captain, and the ship's security personnel conducted a search confirming that Seitz was not on board.
The Coast Guard resumed their search Saturday using a C-130 airplane. Crew on board will use binoculars and heat-detecting equipment to locate the missing passenger.
A rear ramp on the plane will be partially lowered, allowing the plane's crew a wider view of the water below in order to conduct their search.
The Mexican Navy has also dedicated a 90-foot ship and a helicopter to their search.
Mexico's Fifth Naval Regional Command said in a statement that by late Friday it had found no sign of Feitz and was dealing with "adverse conditions" and strong waves just over 17 miles east of Cancun.
Feitz was aboard the Norwegian Pearl cruise ship, which left Miami Sunday for a week-long western Caribbean cruise.
FOX News' Ian Rafferty and The Associated Press contributed to this report.