An Australian newspaper reports that a passenger aboard the Spirit of Tasmania ferry, traveling from Melbourne to Tasmania, went overboard last night when the ship was a little over 40 miles south-east of Victoria’s Port Phillip Heads.
Passengers on the Spirit of Tasmania reportedly saw a 45-year-old man fall into water. The ferry turned around but could not locate the passenger.
The newspaper says that an Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman indicated that the water temperature was about 12 or 13 degrees and thete were winds of 20 to 25 knots with swells of up to 2.5 metres.
Search and rescue planes were deployed and cargo vessels and another ferry, the Spirit of Tasmania II, searched for the passenger without success.
June 25 2016 Update: Perth Now reports that "witnesses have told how the man was chatting with other passengers on the top deck just after 11.30pm on Friday when he swore and then jumped over the rail." The newspaper also says:
"A man who jumped overboard from the Spirit of Tasmania 1 a few hours into its voyage from Melbourne to Devonport was screaming for help as passengers watched helplessly on in horror.
The man — identified by police as a 45-year-old from Ballarat — could not be saved despite desperate attempts by crew members for more than an hour to pluck him from the freezing waters. The rescue mission was hindered by massive swells and darkness with the man eventually disappearing under the water.
It is understood he was last seen swimming towards the large ship, rather than the emergency craft, and was sucked under the boat. An extensive 12-hour search failed to find him, leaving authorities to presume he drowned."
Photo credit; ABC News, David Hudspeth
Video credit: Mail Online