Australian authorities have called off a search for a woman who fell overboard from a cruise ship in the Coral Sea. The passenger fell from the Pacific Dawn about 16:00 local time (06:00 GMT) on Thursday, about 300km 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 about 07:30 on Friday.
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. The Courier Mail newspaper reported that 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 and rough winds.
The ship had left Australia last Saturday on a week-long cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. It has now resumed its course for Brisbane.
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