A 47-year-old woman is missing and presumed lost in a remote part of the South Pacific after an unexplained fall from a cruise ship. Operator P&O Cruises says the Pacific Dawn immediately turned around to search for the woman after she fell from the ship in the Coral Sea, almost 200 miles off New Caledonia, but they couldn't spot any trace of her, the BBC reports. After hours of searching in rough seas and high winds, the captain told passengers that "with a heavy heart," they had "made the extremely difficult decision to continue our journey towards Brisbane," reports the Courier Mail. The woman, who was from Brisbane, is believed to have been traveling on the week-long cruise with her husband and children.
"Horrendous here on ship," tweeted passenger Jonathan Trevithick. "Ship going round and round searching." The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says the search was called off because the "time frame for survivability was quite limited due to the weather conditions that included four-meter (13-foot) swells, 30-knot winds and darkness, and because we knew the missing passenger was not wearing a life jacket," the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports. Police say there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances at this time, but investigators will meet the ship when it arrives in Brisbane early Sunday. Some passengers say the woman went outside to be seasick and was knocked overboard by a freak wave, though others have given conflicting accounts. (Read more cruise ship stories.)