Horror at sea: shocking twist in desperate search for Australian man who fell off cruise ship
- Man fell overboard from Quantum of the Seas
- On a cruise from Brisbane to Hawaii
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An Australian man who went overboard from a cruise ship bound for Hawaii is said to be the partner of a passenger who died shortly before during a medical emergency on the ship.
The man went overboard overnight from the Quantum of the Seas, about 900 miles south of Hawaii.
The Royal Caribbean Cruises ship left Brisbane earlier this month and has been at sea for 15 days.
It stopped in Tahiti in the Pacific en route and was scheduled to dock in Honolulu later in the week.
Passengers were ordered to return to their cabins to ensure all their traveling companions were okay before they were allowed to vacate their rooms 90 minutes later.
An Australian man went overboard from the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship in waters off Hawaii (photo, stock image of the ship)
Bright lights were used in the desperate nighttime search for the passenger as a U.S. Coast Guard Hercules helicopter was deployed to search the ocean from above.
The US Navy has also been called in to assist in the large-scale search.
The identity of the man and how he went overboard is not known at this early stage.
Tracking data shows the cruise stopped after the passenger went overboard, but has since resumed its journey to Hawaii’s Kona Island.
That’s what a man who has family on the ship told me 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham, the passenger who went overboard, is believed to be the partner of someone who died on the ship following a medical emergency.
“There was a show at night and the music stopped before announcing there was a medical emergency and apparently the person passed away,” the listener told the program on Thursday.
“About an hour and a half later, the phone rang that someone had gone overboard and that turned out to be the partner of the person who died earlier.”
The caller added that his wife, daughters and stepson were devastated by the incident.
The crew of the Quantum of the Seas launched a desperate search for the man who fell overboard
The cruise that left Brisbane 15 days ago was en route to Hawaii and stopped in Tahiti en route
Fordham also read an email sent by an onboard listener who recalled how the ship stopped and turned around around 11 p.m. last night.
“It was very dark, searchlights scanned the sea, lifeboats were deployed, everyone was locked in huts,” Fordham read.
‘The captain called the PA an hour later if a gentleman wanted to present himself to the guest services. Everyone sat on their balcony.’
The search lasted until about 1:30 a.m. Lifeboats were brought back on board. The searchlights went on for another 10 minutes, then the ship seemed to slowly steam away.’
The passenger added that the incident was all over the ship’s social media.
“Some say cameras on deck saw him cross, others say the crew confirmed a passenger crossed last night and there wasn’t much they could do,” Fordham read.
Passenger Georgina Thompson and her husband were in bed when they heard the cries of “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar” – the cruise line’s code for “man overboard.”
“There were lights, you know, the big lights shining on the ocean,” she told the Today show.
“And there were a few boats in the water, too.”
A massive search continues for the missing man in the waters off Hawaii
Another passenger posted on Facebook: “It was pitch dark. They had thrown half a dozen life jackets into the water with the automatic beacons. The sea was not very pleasant.’
It is understood that an Anzac Day service was also held on the cruise ship hours earlier for the large number of Australian passengers on board.
Royal Caribbean Cruises has since confirmed that a passenger has gone overboard.
“During its trans-Pacific sails, a guest aboard Quantum of the Seas went overboard,” the company said in a statement to Nine News.
“The ship’s crew immediately launched a search and rescue operation and are working closely with local authorities.”
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Royal Caribbean Cruises for further comment.