The US Coast Guard has so far found no sign of an Australian passenger believed to have fallen overboard from a cruise ship traveling from Brisbane to Hawaii.
In statement, the coast guard said it had received a report from the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship late night Tuesday, of a man overboard some 500 miles (805 kilometers) south of Kailua Kona, Big Island.
The cruise ship remained on scene for about two hours and deployed six life rings in attempt to save the passenger, but resumed its journey when no trace of him was found, the coast guard said.
A US Coast Guard Hercules helicopter conducted an aerial search of the area for six hours on Wednesday and it will resume the search at first light on Thursday, the coast guard said.
Royal Caribbean issued a statement confirming a passenger was missing.
“While on its trans-pacific sailing, a guest onboard Quantum of the Seas went overboard,” the company said in a statement, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.
“The ship’s crew immediately launched a search and rescue operation and is working closely with local authorities,” it added.
A passenger on board the vessel, Georgina Thompson, told Nine News she and her husband were in bed when they heard the call “Oscar, oscar, oscar” – the cruise ship line’s code for “man overboard.”
“There were lights, you know, the big lights shining on the ocean,” she said.
Quantum of the Seas is a 16-day voyage which departed from Brisbane, Australia on April 12 and is scheduled to reached Honolulu, Hawaii on April 28.
The vessel made its maiden voyage in 2014 from Southampton to New York, and was at the time branded as the “world’s smartest cruise ship” with robot waiters and features skydiving on deck.
It is 16 stories high and has room for 4,500 passengers and a 1,500-strong crew, according to the cruise company’s website.