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Woman, 75, 'voluntarily' jumps to her death from eighth-floor balcony of luxury cruise ship in front of horrified holidaymakers

At the time of the incident, the yet-to-be-identified woman was on board the Costa Pacifica, which was cruising from Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira to Malaga in Spain.
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A 75-year-old Dutch woman reportedly leaped to her death from the eighth-floor balcony of a luxury cruise. At around 10:45 pm on October 10, witnesses saw the passenger "voluntarily jump from the balcony of their cabin," Newsweek reports.

At the time of the incident, the yet-to-be-identified woman was on board the Costa Pacifica, which was cruising from Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira to Malaga in Spain. A fellow passenger saw the pensioner falling into the water as the ship was crossing the Gulf of Cadiz.

Costa Cruises, the Italian firm which owns and operates the vessel, later confirmed the death of the tourist, saying her body was recovered from the water after a major search operation.

Speaking to Daily Mail, a spokesman for the company said crew members were alerted by the woman's cabin mate that she had "jumped" into the deep waters. Following the intimation, the captain immediately reversed the ship and began searching the area for her. Local search and rescue teams along with two helicopters joined in soon after to aid the probe.

At around 9 am Friday, rescue teams retrieved the woman's body from the Gulf of Cadiz, as per the NATO Allied Maritime Command.

"Standing NATO Maritime Forces assisted search and rescue for a person reported missing from an Italian cruise ship sailing off the coast of Spain," a statement from the organization said. "NATO naval forces received a 'man overboard' mayday call at 22.26 pm on Thursday."

Later on, Salvamento Maritimo, the Spanish Maritime Safety and Rescue Society, tweeted that the rescue boat had recovered the body and taken it to Algeciras. According to NATO, they sent several ships to the area for the rescue operation, including the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley, a French Maritime Patrol Aircraft, as well as a Spanish Search and Rescue helicopter. 

In a statement, Costa Cruises offered condolences to the woman's family, saying they are "in our thoughts and prayers."

"Costa Cruises regrets to confirm that on October 10 night while Costa Pacifica was sailing between Funchal and Malaga, a 75-year-old female passenger was reported overboard," a company spokesperson told Newsweek in a statement.

"Upon information received, the captain immediately turned around to search the location and alerted local search and rescue personnel. The ship was alerted by the guest's cabin mate, who witnessed the [person] voluntarily jump from the balcony of their cabin," the statement continued. "As part of emergency procedures, the crew immediately launched a search and rescue mission."

"As per procedure a review of CCTV footage has also been performed," they added. "The search and rescue authorities, who continued on the search operations, released the ship after a few hours. The planned arrival to Malaga on Friday morning [was] affected by a delay due to the engagement on search operations under the coordination of the relevant authority."

"The Costa care team moved to provide full assistance to the travel partner and parents of the missing guest," the statement concluded. "Her family is in our thoughts and prayers."