Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

Search called off for woman who went overboard cruise ship

The Pacific Dawn cruise ship The Pacific Dawn cruise ship
Melinda Barton | 15 April, 2018, 19:18

The desperate search - which continued at first light this morning - has now been called off.

"We are still continuing our search at this time", she said.

The woman fell overboard about 4pm on Thursday, about 150 nautical miles west of New Caledonia, during a week-long cruise in the Pacific.

The rescue effort was hampered by challenging conditions, including swells up to 4m (13ft) and high winds.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the guest's family at this distressing time".

"The hard decision to suspend the search was made only after expert advice that survival after this length of time in hard sea conditions and after a full night at sea was not considered possible", Carnival Australia spokesman David Jones said on Friday.

"Pacific Dawn turned around and retraced the course it was on at the time of the incident".

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

"Guests now onboard Pacific Dawn have been advised of a likely late arrival and guests due to embark on the ship's next cruise will be updated on boarding arrangements".

At the moment, The Australian Maritime Safety Authority and New Caledonian authorities have sent out a call for nearby vessels to assist in the emergency search. The woman is reportedly travelling with her children, however, it is unclear if they were on the deck with her.

"No suspicious circumstances have been identified at this time", police said in a statement.

An AMSA spokeswoman told AAP on Friday morning there was no further update yet on the search.

Intital investigations indicated that the woman went overboard 150 nautical miles - nearly 300 kilometres - from New Caledonia, the Queensland Police said in a statement. "Ship going round and round searching".