Dilek Ertek, the wealthy owner of the Tiffany jewellery empire in Turkey, has fallen off the Norwegian Spirit to her death during a South Sea Islands cruise holiday.
Ms Ertek, 71, plunged to her death when fell off the ship at 3am off the coast of Tahiti. It has been reported that jewellery had been stolen from the safe in her cabin and her Swiss boyfriend took 20 hours to report her missing.
Turkish newspaper Sabah have revealed that Ms Ertek’s family are urging police to investigate Ms Ertek’s 74-year-old boyfriend, who is currently unnamed. According to the tycoon’s son Gokce Atuk, jewellery had gone missing from the safe in her mother’s cabin.
Ms Ertek has been a distributor of Tiffany jewellery in Turkey for more than 20 years. She was born in Istanbul and studied diamonds at the Gemological Institute of America in New York. She opened the first Tiffany store in Istanbul in 1995.
Investigations into her death have been baffled over how Ms Ertek, who is just 157cm tall and a teetotaller, was able to fall over a one metre-high railing in the balcony of her cabin.
The search for Ms Ertek’s body has been called off and her boyfriend has returned to Switzerland.
Ms Ertek boarded the ship on October 24 in Papeete Island, French Polynesia on 24 October to celebrate her birthday in Bora Bora on 5 November.
Captain Mustafa Can reportedly commented: “It is difficult to fall from this type of passenger and cruise ship.”
Lawyers for Ms Etek have been arguing that the investigation is Tahiti’s responsibility as it was the closest country to where the incident occurred. Her lawyers are also reportedly preparing to file a suit against the cruise line.
Sabah newspaper reported that a local officer said on social media that the events of the death were puzzling.
The local officer said:”Precautions are taken into consideration right from the shipbuilding phase. Balconies are made entirely of glass and have railings. Their height easily reaches the chest level of a medium-sized person.
“It is not possible to fall. In order to jump, you need to make an effort because it is not easy to put your foot on [the balcony]. You have to get on [a] chair. It’s also unlikely that someone intoxicated will fall.”
A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line told the NY Post in an email: “On Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2022, Norwegian Spirit was notified that a 68-year-old female guest went overboard while the ship was sailing in the Pacific Ocean on its way to French Polynesia.
“The authorities were notified and the United States Coast Guard conducted a search and rescue operation. The investigation is ongoing and we will share updates as appropriate. Our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones during this difficult time.”