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Tiffany's jewellery executive mysteriously falls off South Pacific cruise

A Tiffany’s jewellery executive is presumed dead after she fell from a cruise ship sailing from Hawaii to Tahiti.

Dilek Ertek, the 69-year-old distributor of Tiffany’s jewellery in Turkey, was celebrating her birthday aboard the Norwegian Spirit cruise liner when she was reported missing from the ship on October 25. She had been on the trip with her 74-year-old partner – who did not report her missing until roughly 20 hours later.

The Swiss man was kept under observation by the crew until the ship arrived in Tahiti days later, where he was questioned by police but due to lack of evidence he was released and has since returned to Switzerland.

Dilek Ertek poses in front of a Tiffany's window.
Dilek Ertek, a Tiffany's distributor, fell from the cruise ship on October 26. Source: Newsflash

Questions remain as to how Ms Ertek, who stood at 5’2” (1.57 metres), could have accidentally fallen over the ship's 3-foot (91cm) high rails. A search for her body involved the US Coast Guard, but it has since been called off.

Cruise official says it's impossible to fall overboard

An unnamed cruise ship officer spoke out about the ship’s safety measures on social media, Turkish newspaper Sabah reported.

Norweigan Spirit cruise ship.
Ms Ertek was on board the Norwegian Spirit near Tahiti when she fell. Source: Norwegian Cruise Lines

“Safety on board is a really important issue,” the officer reportedly 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.”

It’s believed Ms Ertek was not a drinker.

Her path to success began when she opened the first Tiffany & Co. store in Istanbul in 1995 before serving as the key distributor for the nation for more than 20 years.

The cruise left Honolulu on October 19 and was due to arrive in Bora Bora on October 29 before ending in Papeete.

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