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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 located and the ship is heading back to Brisbane.

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

A search began immediately and continued through the night, with rough conditions hampering efforts.

It was officially called off on Friday at 7.30am as hopes faded of finding the missing woman.

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“It is with a very heavy heart that I need to let you know that we have been unable to locate our guest,” the captain of the Dawn Pacific told passengers on Friday morning.

“We are still in the area of the incident, and the weather conditions with the swell three to four metres high, as you can see outside, the strong wind made our search extremely challenging.

“As a result, we have now made the extremely difficult decision to continue our journey towards Brisbane.

“I know I speak on behalf of all of you when I say our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

The woman, believed to have been on holiday with her husband and children, reportedly went to the deck to be sick when a freak wave knocked her overboard.

Passengers said her husband saw her fall and went into shock. Life rings were immediately thrown into the water, but there was no sign of her, The Courier-Mail reported.

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

Mr Jones said earlier that a crew member notified the bridge as soon as the woman fell and the ‘man overboard’ incident response was activated immediately.

“In line with this response, Pacific Dawn turned around to follow the course it was on at the time of the incident.”

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority and New Caledonian authorities have issued a call for nearby vessels to assist in the search.

“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.

Members of Queensland Police will board the ship when it arrives in Brisbane on Saturday about 11am, she said.

Our thoughts are with all involved. So terribly sad x

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  • This is just so unbelievably sad and tragic.

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  • This is such a tragedy for everyone concerned. For the poor husband who had to watch his wife jump overboard and then explain it to his children while managing his own shock. To the passengers trying to make sense of what happened. To the woman’s family back home. This is just so sad and we’ll never understand why. What a horrible way to die.

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  • How tragic for this family.

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  • what a horrible thing to witness I don’t like cruises and will never ever go on one


    • This is an isolated event and should not put anyone off going on a cruise. It has since been revealed that the woman took her own life and jumped from the ship. She was apparently on the top deck and fell 40 metres into the water. If it was a wave (of 40 odd metres ) as first reported there would have been more injuries.

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  • Commiserations to the family. Just another reason I won’t be cruising any time soon.


    • This is an isolated event and should not put anyone off going on a cruise. It has since been revealed that the woman took her own life and jumped from the ship. She was apparently on the top deck and fell 40 metres into the water. If it was a wave (of 40 odd metres ) as first reported there would have been more injuries

    Reply

  • I feel for this family and everyone else that witnessed it. Such a terrible thing to happen on a family holiday.

    I would love to go on a cruise, but I fear this mainly for my kids

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  • Such a tragic accident -my thoughts are with the family.

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  • What a terrible sad event. I can only try to imagine how it be to end your holiday like this, your wife and mother of your children swallowed by the sea. Extremely traumatic !!
    It must have been very shocking for the passengers who saw it and for the the captain and the staff of the cruise ship as well.
    My thoughts and prayers o out to the family.

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  • This is an absolutely devastating accident – I cannot even imagine the pain and grief of the family – every sympathy to the family. it sounds like the company did indeed try and search.


    • Ships always stop, then start searching immediately. In such stormy weather search planes with heat sensors couldn’t be used either. Sadly her remains may never be found in the future for her family to have closure. My condolences to her family, other relatives and friends. I hope the family and relatives are offered grief counselling, and other ongoing counselling if needed. I also hope their relatives and friends continue to support them for several months, not just for a few weeks as it is often later is when it is needed. Not only have I heard others say that, I am speaking from personal experience.

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  • Oh how devastating. I really feel for the family :(

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  • How does this family cope? How very, very sad.

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  • How devastating for the family, I hope she is found

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  • Atrocious. If at least they were able to find her body. Poor family. :-(

    Reply

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