Two tragedies have rocked the cruise ship where an Australian man fell overboard in waters south of Hawaii overnight, leaving passengers stunned.
A desperate search is underway for the missing passenger, who was holidaying on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship “Quantum of the Seas” before the nightmare unfolded 1400 kilometres south of holiday hotspot.
The ship departed from a Brisbane port a couple of weeks ago and was moving through the Pacific Ocean near the island of Honolulu when the man went over the railing.
There are reportedly hundreds of Australians onboard, one of which told 2GB on Thursday morning another person onboard died earlier in the evening following a medical emergency. “There was a show during the night and the music stopped before it was announced there was a medical emergency and apparently the person passed away,” he said, Daily Mail Australia reports.
Earlier reports suggested the two incidents were related, but a Royal Caribbean spokesperson has confirmed to Yahoo News Australia they are not.
“While on its trans-pacific sailing, a guest onboard Quantum of the Seas went overboard,” the spokesperson said. “The ship's crew immediately launched a search and rescue operation and is working closely with local authorities.”
Cruise passenger reveals heartbreaking details
A passenger has described the harrowing moment the ship suddenly stopped and turned at about 11pm on Wednesday (local time). “Alarm for a man overboard. It was very dark, search lights scanned the sea, rescue boats deployed, everyone confined to cabins,” he said in an email read allowed by 2GB host Ben Fordham.
“The captain called on the PA an hour later for a gentleman on deck 12 to present himself to guest services,” he continued. “Their name was given out by the PA and several times by the captain. Everyone was out on their balcony.”
The man said the frantic search for the missing passenger continued until around 1.30am when the rescue boats were brought back onboard. “Then the ship seemed to steam off slowly,” he said, adding that some tourists are “saying cameras on deck saw him go over”.
US Coast Guard involved in search
Another Aussie Georgina Thompson said she was sleeping in her cabin when she realised something had gone wrong. “We were in bed and we heard it come over the PA system someone singing out “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar” and then that's when everything started to happen,” she told the Today show.
She said her husband got out of bed and went out to the deck where he saw massive lights shining onto the ocean and multiple small boats. “We didn’t know at that time what was going on,” Ms Thompson recalled. “It lit up the whole ocean.”
She said the mood on-board the cruise ship was “sombre” on Thursday morning, as passengers discussed the shocking news over breakfast. The cruise ship has now moved on to the Hawaiian Islands. The US Coast Guard is conducting an aerial search for the man. DFAT has been contacted for comment.
with NCA NewsWire and AAP
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