Cruise ship death not suspicious, police

Toby Mann
AAP

The death of a woman who fell overboard from the Pacific Dawn was not accidental but the tragic end to what should have been a memorable family holiday.

The 47-year-old Brisbane mother had been at dinner with her husband before she was lost overboard around 150 nautical miles west of New Caledonia on Thursday afternoon.

As passengers disembarked at Brisbane on Sunday morning, police Inspector Rob Graham confirmed the nature of the tragedy.

"This wasn't an accident," he said.

"Let's be open and honest about mental health."

Crew search for the missing woman. Source: 7 News

She had been aboard with her two daughters and son aged 12-to-16 as well as her husband.

"It's a tragic end to what should've been a lifetime holiday experience for a loving family," he said.

"Her husband was standing right next to her when she went over."

Earlier reports she had been sick or fell due to a freak wave were incorrect, he said.

After the woman fell her husband immediately raised the alarm and the ship turned around as a search began.

"We're just lucky that there's not two people missing," Inspector Graham said.

Police will investigate the death of a woman who fell from Pacific Dawn. File pic. Source: AAP

By Friday morning the search was called off following advice from marine rescue experts.

Police are preparing a report for the coroner.

The cruise operator, Carnival Australia, said it was co-operating fully with the police investigation.

"We will be able to give police CCTV footage providing an unobstructed view of what happened and portraying an obviously devoted and loving couple," Carnival said in a statement.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the family and hope that they will find comfort in their grief," the statement said.

Counselling is available for passengers and crew.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.