The woman who fell overboard while holidaying on a cruise ship has been identified as a Brisbane mother-of-three.
Natasha Schofield, as named by 9 News, is presumed dead after reportedly ‘jumping’ 30m from the top deck of the P&O ship as her husband tried to desperately catch her.
The 47-year-old’s husband ‘attempted to catch her unsuccessfully’ as the heartbreaking incident unfolded on Thursday 300km west of New Caledonia, according to the publication.
The cruise liner has reportedly claimed the early investigations will conclude that the mother threw herself overboard in the South West Pacific ocean, as it appeared on security footage.
A crew member spotted the woman falling off the ship at about 4pm and dismissed reports she was vomiting over the side.
Initial reports suggested a mammoth wave swept the mother of the ship when it hit the deck however a P&O spokesman denied the claim.
The woman was reportedly travelling with her husband and children on the week-long cruise of Pacific islands.
The Pacific Dawn cruise stopped just before dusk as a desperate search went underway however it was unsuccessful.
‘It is with a very heavy heart that I need to let you know that we have been unable to locate our guest,’ the ship’s captain told his passengers.
‘We are still in the area of the incident, and the weather conditions with the swell three to four metres high, as you can see outside… the strong wind made our search extremely challenging.
‘As a result we have now made the extremely difficult decision to continue our journey towards Brisbane.’
Questions remain as to how a passenger could fall overboard, as the company told the publication they follow ‘international regulatory standards for minimum heights for balconies’.
The search was called off at about 8am Friday and the cruise ship is expected to return to Brisbane Sunday morning where it will be met by Queensland police for investigations into the horrific incident.
At least 308 people have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000.