Hunt abandoned for 'overboard' cruise Briton


A search operation was called off tonight for a British woman believed to have fallen overboard from a cruise ship in the Mediterranean.

The passenger was reported missing on the Aurora ship as it sailed from the Portuguese city Oporto to Barcelona yesterday, P&O Cruises said.

The ship's crew were alerted and ordered an immediate search of the area which has so far failed to find the as-yet unnamed woman.

A spokeswoman for P&O Cruises later said authorities were believed to have called off the search for the woman, who remains missing.

She confirmed the passenger had fallen overboard from the ship and that next of kin have been informed.

Authorities are now providing assistance for the missing woman's family, the cruise operator said.

The Aurora left Southampton for a 14-night western Mediterranean cruise on September 26. P&O Cruises confirmed all passengers on board were British.

A statement from P&O Cruises said: "We can confirm a missing female presumed overboard from Aurora sailing from Oporto to Barcelona. The ship turned round to search for her and all relevant authorities have been advised.

"Aurora is on a 14-night Western Mediterranean cruise which left Southampton on Wednesday September 26. Our care team is supporting the family and offering assistance."

Pat Rodgers, 70, from Sheffield, said the missing woman was believed to be in her 70s and on holiday with her daughter.

Mrs Rodgers said the water had been "very choppy" and people on board were "sad and subdued" as a major air and sea search operation took place.

She said: "The captain made an announcement over the loudspeaker at 8.10am this morning and asked everyone to help keep a lookout.

"There have been planes and a helicopter circling overhead and the lifeboats are out. The helicopter has gone back to Lisbon now to refuel. We can see other cruise ships and cargo ships all helping with the search.

"We heard that the woman is 72 and was on holiday with her daughter but we don't know how she fell in.

"The passengers are all very sad and subdued as the outlook doesn't look good. The sea is very choppy. We are just so concerned for this woman and her family. It is awful."

She added: "The crew have been great. They are keeping things calm and the captain is giving frequent updates."