A British passenger on a Virgin Voyages luxury cruise ship jumped overboard from the Valiant Lady ship as it returned to Portsmouth, UK, after its maiden voyage sailing through Spanish and Portuguese ports on Wednesday night.
After the strange incident a major search and rescue operation was launched for the missing passenger, which involved French and Spanish coastguards, as well as part of the crew and other passengers of the cruise ship, which returned on its course in the hope of finding it.
The captain of the luxury cruise ship even desperately asked other guests to scan the sea for any sign of the missing man in the water, while a spotter plane and a helicopter were deployed to try to locate him.
In addition, two merchant ships that were in the area were diverted to assist in the search at sea, the Daily Mail reported.
But Search efforts were called off Thursday night and the passenger is believed to be presumably drowned.
The incident itself is a mystery, as it is unclear if any other passengers saw the man jump into the water or if his allegedly deliberate act was caught on security camera.
The Valiant Lady resumed her original course after the search was halted and is due to dock in Portsmouth tonight, around 12 hours late.
The tragedy shook the passengers of the brand new Virgin Voyages ship, who complained that the holidays had been plagued with problems.
They said it felt like Valiant Lady, that it featured performances by ’80s pop groups, including Tony Hadley, Toyah and T’Pau, was “cursed.”
Passengers had shelled out up to $6,500 to sail through La Coruna in Spain, Madeira, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and spend two full days and one night in Lisbon.
But the original itinerary was discarded, since the trip to the capital of Portugal was reduced to one day and Madeira was completely lost.
Then, one passenger became seriously ill and had to be airlifted off the ship.
The series of unfortunate events culminated on Wednesday night when the Briton fell overboard.
“The cruise ship felt cursed from the start, it has been beset by one problem after another. First it was small things like running out of food and drinks and the wifi not working, then the performances were readjusted and the itinerary was changed, ” one of the passengers told the Daily Mail.
“There were covid infections – they had to create an area of the ship for those who tested positive to isolate themselves. And then someone got so sick they had to be airlifted to the hospital. And now this terrible incident. It’s been awful.” he added.
Another assured that everyone is devastated by what happened, and by the idea that one of their fellow travelers has died.
Passengers were informed last night that, due to extensive travel issues, they would be offered a free European cruise with Virgin Voyages this summer.
The Valiant Lady, the tragic debut cruise ship, was touted as a perfect ship for the “young at heart”, featuring an array of upscale restaurants, intimate bars and a nightclub.
The posh ship previously announced a partnership with Jennifer Lopez, in which the singer-actress would invest in the cruise line and develop entertainment, health and fitness collaborations.
“In the early hours of the morning, we were made aware of a man overboard incident involving a passenger, resulting in a search and rescue mission. We are deeply saddened by this news and our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of this sailor. Our investigation indicates that this was an intentional act and that no crime is suspected,” Virgin Voyages said in a statement.
Regarding the other incidents that occurred during the trip, the spokesman stated: “We had a previous incident where one of our sailors on board experienced a medical emergency and required medical attention on shore. Our team acted quickly and, with the help of the local authorities, we were able to airlift them to the hospital. We are very happy to report that this individual is doing well and is receiving medical attention.”
He also apologized for the breaches of the original plan.