25 Nov 2014

Search for cruise passenger called off

8:48 pm on 25 November 2014

The search for an elderly man who fell from a cruise ship sailing from Sydney to New Zealand has been called off.

The Sun Princess

The Sun Princess Photo: Supplied

Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokesperson Mel Larsson said according to medical advice, the 84-year-old would probably not have survived the 25m fall, which was captured on the Sun Princess's closed circuit television system.

The incident happened 175 nautical miles east of Sydney.

"We hold grave concerns for his welfare due to his age, the length of time he would have been in the water and the prevailing conditions," Mr Larsson said.

"It's quite heavy swells, 2-3m ... [with] 25 to 30 knot winds. It's very difficult to imagine survivability for too long in those circumstances."

The Sun Princess, which was completing a 13-day New Zealand cruise, had been due to dock in Sydney this morning but had turned around to help in the search, the ABC reported.

The cruise company initially released a statement saying it would continue searching until it was instructed otherwise.

However, it too had had no luck in locating the passenger and was returning to Sydney, where delays were expected for new passengers due to board tonight.

The man's name has not been released.