An unnamed woman has fallen overboard from a cruise-ship in the Coral Sea, prompting a major search and rescue operation.
The woman fell from the side of the ship, Pacific Dawn, at around 4pm local time today (7am GMT) 150 nautical miles west of New Caledonia.
The ship was in the Coral Sea, bound for Brisbane on the return leg when the horrifying incident occurred.
Immediately the alarm bell was rang but as of yet nobody has been able to find the woman, reports the Courier Mail.
P&O spokesman, David Jones, said in a statement:
A crew member notified the bridge straight away 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.
Though the Australian Maritime Safety Bureau and New Caledonian authorities, put a call in for all nearby boats to assist in the search, tragically there are no other boats in the area, forcing the cruise ship to ‘go round and round’ looking for the woman relatively alone.
An Australian Maritime Safety Bureau and New Caledonian authority spokeswoman said:
It would take days for anyone to reach the area it’s so remote.
A passenger on the ship, Jonathan Trevithick, posted a photo to Twitter of a lone life-ring floating in the tide.
Horrendous here on ship. Man over board an hour ago. Ship going round and round searching. pic.twitter.com/jpC0NGRomU
— Jonathan Trevithick (@JonTrevithick) April 12, 2018
He accompanied the tweet, saying:
Horrendous here on ship. Ship going round and round searching.
We have been told very little. I didn’t know it was a woman. It happened around 5pm. I was on deck and heard someone cry, ‘man overboard’. The ship ground to a halt which took a while, of course. It turned around and found the life buoy.
Not looking good. Nightfall now. Ship still searching.
The search and rescue operation is currently underway around 1000 kilometres northeast of Brisbane and 300 kilometres west of New Caledonia.
Speaking to The Whitsunday Times, a female passenger explained:
We heard the man overboard announcement around 5pm.
The boat stopped and turned, life rings were thrown out and we are still searching.
Captain has advised we will continue to search until person is found or until coast guard calls off search.
A ‘person overboard’ announcement was reportedly made over the ship’s speaker system.
Similarly to Jon, the woman explained that night was beginning to fall and that the search had been underway for well over two hours.
Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the woman who tragically fell overboard.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.