April 14, 2018
Australian authorities have called off a search for a Brisbane woman who fell overboard from a cruise ship in the Coral Sea.
The 47-year-old fell from the Pacific Dawn about 16:00 local time (06:00 GMT) on Thursday, about 300km (186 miles) west of New Caledonia.
The ship, bound for Brisbane, turned around immediately to search for the woman, operator P&O Cruises said.
Australian maritime authorities decided to end the search on Friday morning.
“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,” a P&O Cruises spokesman said.
“Pacific Dawn had searched throughout the night and into the morning after first light without success.”
Queensland police said they would meet the Pacific Dawn when it docked in Brisbane on Sunday, to investigate the incident.
“No suspicious circumstances have been identified at this time,” police said in a statement.
The Courier Mail newspaper reported the woman had appeared to be seasick before she fell from the vessel amid rough seas. P&O Cruises said it could not confirm any details.
Authorities in Australia and New Caledonia said they had issued a call for other vessels to assist in the search, but the ship was in remote waters.
The rescue effort was hampered by challenging conditions, including swells up to 4m (13ft) and high winds.
The ship left Australia last Saturday on a week-long cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. It has now resumed its course for Brisbane.