A guest onboard P&O Cruises Australia's 70,000-ton, 1,590-passenger Pacific Dawn was successfully rescued after jumping overboard earlier today.
According to an official statement, the ship was about 20 miles off the coast of Port Vila on the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu when the guest, a 22-year-old male otherwise unidentified by the cruise line, jumped at approximately 5 a.m., local time.
A crewmember sounded the appropriate alarm and deployed a life buoy, and the ship immediately turned around to initiate standard "man overboard" procedures, including the use of smoke flares and GPS positioning to identify the man's location. The man was recovered by rescue boat within 45 minutes and was brought under the care of medical center personnel.
His family has been contacted, and he is disembarking the ship today in Port Vila "in the interests of his emotional well-being."
P&O's statement indicates that the man was in a restricted area at the time of the incident but does not say why he jumped. However, Cruise Critic member samushy shared on our P&O Australia forum the following e-mail from a friend who was onboard at the time: "Drama 5 a.m. this morning. Man overboard, turned around, flares, everyone up top looking, lucky beggar was found in the front of the ship. Rescue boat just got to him in time. Fight with girlfriend so stormed off and jumped."
This is the second time this year a cruise passenger has gone overboard. A Carnival Cruise Lines crewmember fell overboard on New Year's Day; unfortunately, the search was unsuccessful and was called off on January 3.
--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor, with reporting by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor
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P&O Australia Passenger Rescued After Going Overboard
January 13, 2009