Woman Tries To Swim To Cruise Ship After It Left Without Her

Open Jaw

Clutching only her handbag, a British cruise passenger was rescued from the Atlantic 500 metres from shore after trying to swim to her ship when it left port without her.

Susan Brown, 65, told hospital officials she jumped into the water to try to reach her cruise ship because she thought her husband was on board after changing his mind about flying back to the U.K. with her.

Police said she claimed the pair bought tickets to fly back to the U.K. on Saturday after leaving the Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Marco Polo during a port call in Madeira, deciding to cut their trip short.

She explained that she jumped into the Atlantic after losing sight of her husband at the island airport, assuming he had headed back to the ship. Brown was being cared for in a hospital psychiatric unit after life-saving treatment for advanced hypothermia.

Police have confirmed her husband, 69 yr. old Michael Brown, did not return to the Marco Polo but were still trying to establish if he flew back to the U.K.

Funchal ports captain Felix Marques, the local maritime police commander, said: “The only version of Saturday night’s events we have so far is that of the British woman who was rescued from the sea. She said at the hospital when she arrived that she and her husband had cut short their trip after arriving in Madeira on Saturday and had gone to the airport to buy 2 plane tickets to fly back to the U.K. with EasyJet that same day. It’s still a bit unclear at the moment because we haven’t had a proper chance to speak with her ourselves given her condition."

Local reports said the couple had argued prior to the incident but the ports captain could not confirm that story.

“But she’s said she lost contact with her husband at some point while at the airport and jumped in the sea to try to reach the ship after seeing it in the distance as it left port because she assumed he had changed his mind and was back on board,” said Marques.

“She was very lucky to survive. She was in the water for more than 3 hours and was suffering from the effects of hypothermia when she was rescued by fishermen who heard her cries for help around 12.20 a.m. on Sunday. She could easily have died if she had not been rescued when she was.”

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