Frantic search for woman who fell overboard on P&O cruise ship

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'Pacific Dawn had searched through the night and into the morning after first light without success. She said the primary response lies with the ship's flag state which is the UK.

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

The ship turned around immediately to search for the woman but Australian maritime authorities made a decision to end the search at around 07:30 Friday.

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.

Queensland police said they would meet the Pacific Dawn when it docked in Brisbane on Sunday, to investigate the incident.

According to The Courier Mail, passengers said that the woman had gone outside to vomit as she was seasick, and was thrown overboard when a wave struck the side of the ship.

"There is nothing to suggest anything of this kind", P&O said in a statement.

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Passengers report that her husband saw her fall overboard and went into shock.

The search was called off on Friday morning.

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

A passenger, who requested not to be named, described the atmosphere on the ship as "very sad, solemn and quiet".

While the passenger said the emergency was handled well by crew she added there has been no official announcement about where the woman fell from.

The Pacific Dawn was expected to arrive back to Brisbane later than its 6am Saturday scheduled time.

'Pacific Dawn has now resumed her course for Brisbane where preparations are being made for a late arrival.

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