Cruise ship death: British woman's body found overboard in the Mediterranean
Passengers on the Aurora cruise ship are in shock after the 72-year-old woman's body was recovered from the sea
Tragedy: Woman was holidaying on the cruise ship Aurora
The body of a British woman was hauled from the sea last night, hours after she fell overboard from a cruise ship.
The 72-year-old was found floating in the Mediterranean just as an air and sea rescue search was about to be suspended until daybreak.
The unnamed woman was recovered by lifeboats near to where she disappeared off Cabo Mondego, Figueira da Foz, Portugal.
She had been reported missing from the Aurora liner as it sailed from Oporto to the Spanish city of Barcelona.
The crew were alerted and ordered an immediate search.
The woman was on the cruise with her daughter. Officials were last night providing assistance for their family.
The Aurora left Southampton for a 14-night western Mediterranean cruise on September 26. All the passengers were British.
A statement from P&O Cruises said: "A missing female was reported overboard from the Aurora. The ship turned round to search for her."
Passengers on the Aurora told of their shock at the tragedy. Pat Rodgers, 70, from Sheffield, said the water had been "very choppy" and people on board were "sad and subdued" as a major air and sea search was launched.
She said: "The captain asked everyone to help keep a lookout. Planes and a helicopter have been circling and the lifeboats were out.
"The helicopter had to go back to Lisbon at one stage to refuel. Other cruise ships and cargo vessels were helping with the search.
"The passengers were all very shocked as the outlook didn't look good. We are just so concerned for this poor woman's family. It is awful."
The Aurora was launched by the Princess Royal in 2000. The champagne bottle failed to break when it struck the ship - considered to be a bad omen.
The liner broke down in the Bay of Biscay on its maiden voyage and had to proceed slowly into Southampton. Passengers were given a free cruise and compensation topped £6 million.
In 2003 the liner was dubbed the "plague ship" after an outbreak of the contagious norovirus on board laid low 600 passengers and crew .