Crew members on Virgin Voyages cruise ship Valiant Lady launched an urgent search and rescue operation, with the cruise liner’s captai even asking guests to keep a lookout
Image: Fraser Gray/REX/Shutterstock)
A British man reportedly threw himself off the side of a cruise liner hosting performances by 80s pop acts.
The Virgin Voyages cruise ship Valiant Lady was making its return to its boarding point in Portsmouth following a tour of Spanish and Portuguese ports on the Atlantic when the passenger went missing on Wednesday night (March 30).
Crew members launched an urgent search and rescue operation, with the cruise liner’s captain even asking guests to keep a lookout for any sign of the missing man, the Daily Mail reports.
After it was discovered the man had gone into the sea, the ship turned around to search for the man.
Despite the combined efforts of those on the ship, a spotter plane, a helicopter, and nearby merchant vessels, the rescue operation was suspended hours later.
The passenger, believed to be British, is now feared to have drowned.
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The Virgin Voyages cruise ship Valiant Lady hosted performances from 80s pop icons including Tony Hadley, Toyah, T’Pau, Altered Images, ABC’s Martin Fry and former Radio 1 DJs Bruno Brookes and Gary Davies.
After the search was suspended, the ship resumed its journey to Portsmouth – finally docking 12 hours later than planned.
According to the Mail, further inquiries onboard show the man appeared to “deliberately” jump over the side of the ship, though no CCTV footage has yet been made available.
Peter Byrne/PA Wire)
Passengers paid up to £5,000 for the cruise – aimed at a demographic of “young at heart” adults and kitted out with restaurants, bars and a nightclub.
But the trip was blighted by several incidents throughout its voyage, including one destination being dropped from the itinerary altogether.
At one point, a passenger became seriously ill and had to be air-lifted off the ship by helicopter. Passengers have also claimed there were multiple covid infections, leading to staff creating an “area for those who had tested positive to isolate in”.
Another guest said: “Everyone among the passengers is devastated by what’s happened – it’s just horrible to think that a fellow passenger has probably died.”
A Virgin Voyages spokesman said: “In the early hours of the morning, we were informed of a man overboard incident involving a Sailor [passenger], which resulted in a search and rescue mission. We’re deeply saddened by this news and our thoughts are with this Sailor’s family and loved ones.
“Our investigation indicates that this was an intentional act and that no foul play is suspected.”
A Maritime and Coastguard spokesperson said: “Since 7.30am yesterday HM Coastguard was coordinating a search for a man overboard from the Valiant Lady cruise ship in the Bay of Biscay, with the assistance of our counterparts in Spain and France.
“The French sent a fixed-wing aircraft to provide air support to a helicopter sent by Spain to conduct a search. Two merchant vessels and the cruise ship were also assisting. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has been informed.”
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