April 26, 2018

Pacific Dawn returning to Brisbane after search for passenger called off

14 April 2018, 12:40 | Melvin Schneider

Husband and kids in shock after 'seeing mum swept from P&O ship'

The Australian Maritime Safety Bureau and New Caledonian authorities issued a call for nearby vessels to assist in the search- but none were close enough

The captain of a P&O cruise ship near New Caledonia has made the sad announcement to passengers that a woman who fell overboard hasn't been found and the ship is heading back to Brisbane.

"Pacific Dawn had searched throughout the night and into the morning after first light without success".

'I know I speak on behalf of all of you when I say our thoughts and prayers are with the family'. After hours of searching in rough seas and high winds, the captain told passengers that "with a heavy heart", they had "made the extremely hard decision to continue our journey towards Brisbane", reports the Courier Mail.

"With the deepest sadness, P&O Cruises has confirmed the suspension of Pacific Dawn's search", Carnival Australia spokesman David Jones said.

The ship remained in the area this morning to continue the search. No suspicious circumstances were identified at the time.

Queensland Police officers are due to meet the ship when it returns to Brisbane on Sunday, at around 11 a.m.

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Passengers said the woman, believed to have been on holiday with her husband and children, became seasick and was thrown from the deck around 4pm.

"The search, which began immediately after a crew member reported a guest had been seen to go over the side of the ship, was suspended in consultation with maritime rescue authorities". Life rings were cast into the water, but there has reportedly been no sign of her since.

"At 7.30am (Sydney time) on Friday the search was called off, based on expert medical advice on survival time", an AMSA spokeswoman told AAP. High winds and rough seas made the search hard.

'She leaned over and the ship rocked in heavy seas - her husband tried to catch her but she slipped, ' one passenger posted on Facebook.

The ship was on a week-long cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia and has now resumed its course for Brisbane.

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