A desperate search is underway for a teenage girl who is believed to have fallen overboard from a luxury ship sailing between Menorca and Mallorca.

The missing passenger, believed to be from America and wearing pink pyjamas, was last seen by her parents at 1am when they went to bed and she stayed out on the balcony.  She was declared missing in the early hours of this morning when guests on board the Norwegian Epic were asked to scour the deck for any signs of her in the sea.    

One of them, Rebekah Sanderlin, aged 20, tweeted: 'I'm on the Norwegian Epic cruise ship in the Mediterranean & we've spent all day looking for a passenger who fell overboard last night. People are saying it was an American teenage girl.' 

Maritime Rescue received an urgent call for help at dawn, reporting that a passenger had apparently fallen overboard about 40 miles north-northwest of Menorca. A helicopter and several boats were sent out, together with a plane and the cruise liner itself.  

At the time of the incident, the Norwegian Epic was heading towards the port of Palma. The ship was scheduled to arrive in Palma, Mallorca, early Saturday after leaving Cannes, France, on Friday but turned round to conduct the search.  

A warning of distress has been activated to all navigators in the area. Sanderlin told weather.com: 'At about 8.30M, the captain came on the speaker and said the ship was turning around to go back to look for a passenger who he said they had 'good evidence' had gone overboard. 

The cruise liner is believed to be heading back to Barcelona. Maritime Rescue says the search will continue throughout the night depending on the weather conditions. The Norwegian Epic can carry 4,100 passengers and was as the third largest cruise ship in the world when built. It first sailed in 2010. 

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