A passenger on the world’s largest cruise ship has fallen overboard to his death while the giant vessel was sailing in the Caribbean.
The Australian man’s body was recovered in front of horrified holidaymakers as Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas sailed from Saint Kitts to Saint Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.
A rescue boat was dispatched in a desperate effort to save the man who fell overboard between 3am and 5am on Wednesday.
Graphic footage posted online shows the rescue boat dropping into the sea from the cruise ship.
It shows the body being pulled out of the water and being taken back to the vessel, which was carrying thousands of holidaymakers.
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After the man was reported overboard, the cruise ship turned and launched a rescue boat to look for him.
The incident is under investigation.
Passenger Nickella Battle, who works for a Florida TV station, said crew announced the incident over the intercom.
The passenger told 7 News: “I was on the balcony of my stateroom at around 3.30pm. The captain was on the intercom.
“He was like, ‘Oh, a man fell overboard and unfortunately he was deceased’.
“This happened at around 4am.
“I looked out from my balcony and everybody was taken aback. You could see everyone standing in their tracks.”
A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean said in a statement to media: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic incident that occurred on the Symphony of the Seas en route to Saint Thomas this morning.
“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones for their loss, and our care team is providing support and assistance during this difficult time.
“Upon the initial report that an Australian adult male had gone overboard, our ship immediately turned, launched a rescue boat, and conducted a full-scale search.
“We are working closely with authorities and will continue to assist in their investigation.”
The Symphony of the Seas has since resumed its voyage and is due to arrive in Miami, Florida, on Saturday.
Built in France, it is the world’s largest cruise ship by gross tonnage and has a capacity for 6,680 passengers and 2,200 crew.