The death of a woman who fell overboard from the Pacific Dawn cruise ship was not accidental, according to authorities investigating the incident.

The Brisbane woman who fell overboard from the Pacific Dawn and disappeared in a tragedy at sea has been identified as Natasha Schofield, 47, but police say it "wasn't an accident".

Queensland Police Inspector Rob Graham said Ms Schofield's death was intentional.

"This wasn't an accident," he said.


"Let's be open and honest about mental health.

"It's a tragic end to what should've been a lifetime holiday experience for a loving family.

"Her husband was standing right next to her when she went over.

"Her husband tried to grab on to her... her legs... but she fell."

Natasha Schofield has been identified as the woman who went overboard. Photo / Facebook
Natasha Schofield has been identified as the woman who went overboard. Photo / Facebook

Earlier reports she had been sick or fell due to a freak wave were incorrect, he said.

After the woman fell her husband immediately raised the alarm and the ship turned around as a search began.

"We're just lucky that there's not two people missing," Inspector Graham said.

"What you've got is a loving husband who was there when his wife departed," he added.


The cruise operator, Carnival Australia, said it was co-operating fully with the police investigation.

"We will be able to give police CCTV footage providing an unobstructed view of what happened and portraying an obviously devoted and loving couple," Carnival said in a statement.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the family and hope that they will find comfort in their grief."

Counselling is available for passengers.

One traveller said passengers had been updated with developments from the outset.

"The captain and crew have been put in an unimaginable position yet have handled themselves professionally and with the respect to the victim and her family," Teg An told AAP on Friday.

The first photos from inside the cruise ship during the frantic search for Ms Schofield emerged overnight. One photo shows cruise ship staff on the deck of the ship. Another shows people using torches to try and spot the woman.

The images came as an eyewitness, who asked not to be named, said she saw the tragic incident unfold. She said the woman walked over to a deck and began to vomit while leaning over a railing of the Pacific Dawn.

"(She was) vomiting outside, near the table tennis area" the guest on-board recalled, the Courier Mail reported.

"Leaning over, not far over, then she fell. When she went over he collapsed."

The guest claimed that there was no freak wave that hit the ship before the victim lost her footing and fell overboard.


If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

Or if you need to talk to someone else:

• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666
• OUTLINE: 0800 688 5463 (confidential service for the LGBTQI+ community, their friends and families)
• RURAL SUPPORT TRUST: 0800 787 254.