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Pacific Dawn returning to Brisbane after search for passenger called off
15 April 2018, 07:17 | Erica Roy
Husband and kids in shock after 'seeing mum swept from P&O ship'
The search continued throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning with rough conditions and large swell making the operation hard.
"The ship continued to search for a couple of hours afterwards", she said.
"As a result, we have now made the extremely hard 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 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".
"The time frame for survivability was quite limited due to the weather conditions that included four metre swells, 30 knot winds and darkness, and because we knew the missing passenger was not wearing a life jacket", a spokeswoman said. "Ship going round and round searching".
P&O said the incident has been referred to Queensland Police and to the Coroner, as is normal procedure.
The passenger said suggestions the woman was knocked overboard by a wave were incorrect although she was unsure how the incident occurred on Thursday afternoon near New Caledonia.
He said little information was being given to passengers about the situation other than they were searching for the missing woman.
Operator P&O Cruises says the Pacific Dawn immediately turned around to search for the woman after she fell from the ship in the Coral Sea, nearly 200 miles of New Caledonia, but they couldn't spot any trace of her, the BBC reports.
The Pacific Dawn was expected to arrive back to Brisbane later than its 6am Saturday scheduled time.
A passenger onboard Pacific Dawn says its parent cruise ship company can not be faulted for the way it has handled the tragedy of a woman falling overboard.
The ship was on a week-long cruise from Brisbane to the South Pacific, stopping at Noumea, Lifou and Port Vila.
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