Man presumed dead after ship plunge

A man was missing presumed dead today after falling overboard a cruise ship into the English Channel, officials said.

Emergency workers called off a search and rescue mission this morning after unsuccessfully hunting for the man throughout the night, according to a French coastguard source.

The man was travelling onboard the Celebrity Eclipse cruiser and plummeted into the Channel at around 10.15pm last night, eight miles north of Cherbourg.

The liner, owned by travel company Celebrity Cruises, is believed to have been travelling between Cherbourg and Southampton.

It is not know if the man was a passenger or member of staff and his nationality is still to be confirmed.

The coastguard source said: "Unfortunately there was a man in the sea. We searched for him extensively but we could not find him.

"We deployed our resources to find him but it was to no avail and we can now presume that he is dead.

"The water was very cold and there is no hope for him."

Solent Coastguard Maritime Rescue confirmed it had received information that a person onboard the cruiser had fallen overboard but did not know if he was British.

Celebrity Cruises offer trips around Europe and the Mediterranean, with cruises ranging from eight to 14 nights in length.

The Eclipse cruiser, a Solstice class vessel, joined the fleet last year, according to the company's website.