The ship, Carnival Dream, started a four-day cruise from Galveston on Thursday [File: Reuters]

The United States Coast Guard was searching early on Friday for a 26-year-old man who went overboard from a Carnival Cruise ship about 76km (47 miles) out in the Gulf of Mexico, near the port of Galveston in Texas.

A spokeswoman said the coastguard was preparing to launch a search-and-rescue cutter after midnight, with more than 10 of its crew having joined the initial stages of the search.

A helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft manned by divers and rescue equipment, including a hoist to lift a person out of the water, are also being deployed in the effort, she added.

The ship, Carnival Dream, started a four-day cruise from Galveston on Thursday, the cruise

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