Search called off for woman who went overboard cruise ship

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The search continued throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning with rough conditions and large swell making the operation hard.

A search began immediately and continued through the night, with rough conditions hampering efforts. P&O Cruises said it could not confirm any details.

The ship's owner P&O told the news site that a crew member witnessed the woman fall over the side of the ship about 4pm AEST, 150 nautical miles west of New Caledonia.

A statement from P&O Cruises Australia said the hard decision to suspend the search was made only after expert advice that survival was not considered possible after so long in rough seas.

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"Our thoughts and prayers are with the guest's family at this distressing time".

"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 Queensland Police spokeswoman said officers would be meeting the vessel when it arrives in Brisbane on Saturday.

A passenger onboard Pacific Dawn says its parent cruise ship company can not be faulted for the way it has handled the tragedy of a woman falling overboard.

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Passengers told News Corp the woman had gone outside to vomit and was thrown overboard when a wave hit the ship, with one saying her husband saw the whole thing.

The woman was 47 years old, according to the BBC, and the decision to call off the search was made on Friday morning by the Australian maritime authorities.

"No suspicious circumstances have been identified at this time", police said in a statement.

The woman, who was from Brisbane, is believed to have been travelling on the week-long cruise with her husband and children. "Ship going round and round searching".

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