British passenger missing from Queen Mary 2 liner

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The Queen Mary 2Image source, Wikipedia
Image caption,
The Queen Mary 2 is based at the port of Southampton in the United Kingdom

The US Coast Guard have called off a search effort to locate an elderly British woman missing from the Queen Mary 2 ocean liner.

The ship, operated by the UK-based Cunard Cruise Line, left New York on Thursday and was en route to St Maarten in the Caribbean.

It turned back to assist the hunt but halted its efforts as darkness fell.

Petty Officer David Micallef told the BBC a 74-year-old had been reported missing in the early hours of Friday.

In a statement, Cunard said: "It is with sadness we can confirm that after a comprehensive search, working with all relevant authorities, Queen Mary 2 has halted the search for a missing guest, presumed overboard...

"Cunard's care team is offering every support to the family."

The Queen Mary 2, which was beginning a 12-night Caribbean itinerary when the woman went missing, is now back on course to reach St Maarten on 26 December as scheduled.

The woman was first reported missing as the ship was passing nearly 100 miles (161km) south-east of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The Coast Guard did not have more details to provide regarding the circumstances under which she went missing.

They launched an aerial search using a C-130 fixed wing airplane and a HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter but have now returned to land.

The Queen Mary 2 is based at the port of Southampton in the UK, although it is flagged in Bermuda.

The luxury cruiser, which boasted of having the world's "largest library at sea", was renovated on 23 June, according to the Cunard website.