A major hunt is underway after a crew member ‘fell overboard’ on a cruise ship off the coast of Ramsgate.
The RNLI and Coastguard have launched a huge search operation Sunday morning after reports the man fell into the English Channel off the east Kent coast.
He had been on board the German 300m-long cruiseliner AIDAperla making its way from Hamburg to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
The man went overboard
AIDA Cruises told The Sun Online there was ‘reason to believe that a crew member of AIDAperla went overboard in the English channel in the early morning of October 22’.
In a statement, the firm added: ‘The captain and crew of AIDAperla immediately initiated all necessary rescue measures in close coordination with the local authorities.’
The search on board confirmed that a male crew member is missing.
‘The ship was immediately stopped and returned to the spot where the incident was believed to have taken part in the search.
‘The search for the missing person is ongoing and has our utmost priority.’
Two all-weather lifeboats sent out
AIDA told The Sun late on Sunday the cruise ship had been released from the search operation for the crew member and is resuming its journey towards La Coruña.
They added: ‘At this difficult time, our thoughts are with the family of the missing person and his colleagues.
‘In addition, we are in close contact with his family and the AIDAperla crew.’
The RNLI said they sent out two all-weather lifeboats with the Ramsgate crew getting a call at 8:20am before the Dover crew launched 15 minutes later.
HM Coastguard said: ‘HM Coastguard is coordinating the search for a man reported overboard from a passenger ship off Ramsgate on 22 October.’
HM Coastguard was alerted at about 8.55am.