Search off Gisborne NZ suspended after Ovation OTS cruise passenger spots body in water

   March 17, 2023 ,   Accidents

A search by two rescue helicopters last night off the coast of Gisborne (New Zealand) where a cruise ship passenger reportedly saw a body floating in the water was called off after the helicopters ran low on fuel.

According to a spokesperson for Maritime NZ, a passenger from RCI-Royal Caribbean's ship Ovation of the Seas had reported seeing what they thought might be a body in the water ~25 NM (~29 mi / 46 km) off the coast.

As a result, Search and Rescue helicopters were scanning the area.

A spokesperson from the Eastland Helicopter Rescue Trust said that the aircraft had searched the sea for 2+ hours on Friday, March 17th.

Gisborne’s Trust Tairawhiti Eastland Helicopter Rescue crew, dispatched by the Rescue Co-Ordination Centre, launched just before 6 pm NZ time (5 am UTC).

They were joined ~90 minutes later by a Hawke’s Bay Rescue Helicopter crew, who had been delivering a patient in Gisborne.

According to a Gisborne crew spokesperson, each helicopter had a fuel capacity of 2 hours to spend circling the search area, by which time low supplies/failing visibility had forced them to call off the operation.

A Maritime NZ spokesperson said the search was unlikely to be resumed on Saturday morning.

The 5000-passenger liner Ovation OTS (Quantum-class vessel) departed from Sydney (NSW Australia) on March 11th for a 12-day roundtrip voyage to New Zealand.

For more Ovation of the Seas incidents and accidents see the ship's CruiseMinus page.

Your personal data will be processed and information from your device (cookies, unique identifiers, and other device data) may be stored by, accessed by and shared with third party vendors, or used specifically by this site or app. Some vendors may process your personal data on the basis of legitimate interest, which you can object to by managing your options below. Look for a link at the bottom of this page or in our privacy policy where you can withdraw consent.