The mother who was lost from The Pacific Dawn “intentionally” went overboard, according to police who have viewed security camera footage of the tragic incident.
The cruise ship docked at Brisbane this morning, where police boarded the vessel to carry out investigations on behalf of the coroner.
Speaking to media at Brisbane’s Portside Wharf, Inspector Rob Grahamissued an extraordinarily candid version of the sad events aboard the vessel:
“The missing person did not accidentally fall. She did not fall as a result of a freak wave.
“I can say that the missing person did make intentional actions to propel herself overboard. I can say that a male person, her husband, was standing right next to her when she went over.
“I can also say that her husband tried in vain to grab her as she went over, by grabbing onto her legs, but she was too far gone.”
The inspector added: “This wasn’t an accident. Let’s be open and honest about mental health. It’s a tragic end to what should’ve been a lifetime holiday experience for a loving family.”
News Ltd reports named the woman, 47, who fell from an upper-level deck some 150 nautical miles west of New Caledonia on Thursday afternoon.
A search for the mother-of-three was called off on Friday morning. Her body has not been found.
She was with her husband and three children aged 12 to 16 when the events occurred.
The police statement ends days of speculation that the woman went overboard because she had been sick and fell, or that a freak wave caused her death.
The entire incident was captured on security cameras, according to police.
“What I saw was a couple of loving people on the top deck of a cruise ship,” said the inspector.
“I saw them leaning on the rails and I saw the intentional actions of the missing person take two steps back and then propel herself over the railing.”
Her husband immediately raised the alarm and the ship turned around as an all-night search began.
A Carnival Australia spokesperson said: “Pacific Dawn returned to Brisbane this morning and, prior to arrival at the Portside Cruise Terminal, the Captain thanked disembarking guests for their sensitivity and support for the family who suffered such a devastating loss during the cruise.
“The family has been supported on board by senior crew members since the incident and Care-trained staff met the ship on arrival this morning. We have done everything possible to respect and protect the privacy of the family.
“Counselling by a professional Counsellor who was also on hand today, has been offered to guests and crew wanting access to this support.
“P&O Cruises is assisting Queensland Police in their inquiries into the incident as the lead authority acting on behalf of the State Coroner. As anticipated, police went on board Pacific Dawn on arrival this morning to begin their inquiries.
“Allowing the police to determine what happened in this tragic incident is the appropriate course.
“We remain concerned that much of the speculation and versions of events given in recent days are not supported by the facts. The police inquiries on behalf of the Coroner will help put the speculation to rest.
“With Pacific Dawn’s arrival, we will be able to give police CCTV footage providing an unobstructed view of what happened and portraying an obviously devoted and loving couple.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and hope that they will find comfort in their grief.”
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14