Tragic Ending for Passenger Overboard Cruise Ship Near Sydney

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Near the end of P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Adventure‘s latest sailing, a man sadly went overboard the ship. Despite immediate search and rescue operations, the man was found deceased and the body was retrieved just hours later.

The incident happened approximately 12 miles (18 kilometers) from shore, near Sydney Heads, at the entrance to Sydney Harbor. The alarm was raised onboard at roughly 4 a.m., and the man’s body was recovered at 10:30 a.m.

In addition to Pacific Adventure, multiple local rescue vehicles and emergency personnel were involved in the search operation, including helicopters and boats.

At the time of the overboard alarm as well as throughout the search operation, local weather conditions were challenging. Steady wind speeds were recorded at 25-30 miles per hour (40-48 kilometers per hour), with gusts as high as 40 mph (64 kph).

Windy conditions would hamper search efforts by making it more difficult for smaller search vessels to maneuver, as well as limiting visibility. Rough seas would also make it less likely that someone unprotected in the water would be able to survive for a longer period of time.

An investigation into the incident, including any suspicious circumstances surrounding the overboard, will be thoroughly conducted. At this time, there is no indication whether or not foul play may have been involved or if alcohol could have been a factor in the incident.

Read Also: Cruise Guest From Pacific Adventure Dies While Visiting South Pacific Port

P&O Cruises Australia is providing support to the man’s family and friends onboard, as well as to crew members impacted by the sad incident.

“We thank guests for their care, understanding and patience on what’s been a distressing day for guests and crew,” a statement from the cruise line read. “Our thoughts are with the family of the guest at this difficult time.”

Pacific Adventure Cruise Ship
Pacific Adventure Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: HDC Creative)

Pacific Adventure was just concluding a 3-night, Elvis-themed sailing that had departed Sydney on Friday, May 3. The ship has already departed on her next sailing, a 4-night cruise to Moreton Island. Despite an initial delay of several hours, there is no indication that the itinerary will need any adjustment.

The 108,865-gross-ton, Grand-class ship can welcome 2,600 passengers aboard for each sailing, and is also home to approximately 1,100 international crew members. She is homeported year-round from Sydney and offers a diverse selection of sailings to Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific destinations, ranging from 3-15 nights depending on departure date.

Another Ship Delayed

While Pacific Adventure was understandably delayed for the search operations, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Splendor was also delayed for several hours back to her Sydney homeport.

The Carnival cruise ship was just finishing an 8-night South Pacific itinerary that had departed Sydney on Sunday, April 28. Carnival Splendor was asked to delay her entry into Sydney Harbor so as not to interfere with search operations at the time. This naturally had a knock-on effect for the next sailing.

Carnival Splendor in Sydney
Carnival Splendor in Sydney

“Due to an emergency rescue operation outside the Sydney Harbour, Carnival Splendor will be delayed, impacting passenger embarkation,” the cruise line said in a notification to booked guests. “Please do not proceed to the cruise terminal until you receive our final update on new embarkation times. Thanks for your cooperation and understanding.”

Following that delay, Carnival Splendor has likewise already departed on her next sailing, a 10-night voyage to the Great Barrier Reef. The 113,300-gross-ton, Concordia-class (or Splendor-class) ship can host 3,012 travelers at double occupancy, or up to 3,948 guests when fully booked.

Pacific Adventure and Carnival Splendor were the only ships scheduled for Sydney on Monday, May 6, and in fact are the only two cruise ships currently homeported from the city.

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