In the Media

Woman arrested over 'false report' of baby fall from ferry

PUBLISHED May 10, 2012

A 37-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with reports that a baby fell overboard from a Stena Line ferry into Belfast Lough, the Police Service of Northern Ireland has said.

A PSNI spokesperson said the woman had been detained on suspicion of wasting police time.

After interviewing the woman, officers had concluded that reports of the baby falling from the ferry on Wednesday night were false.

The woman herself, believed to be from east Belfast, fell from the ferry into the Irish Sea as it entered the lough at 6.10pm. After being rescued about 15 minutes later she reported that her baby had fallen overboard as well.

She was transferred to Belfast Royal Victoria hospital and a major air, land and sea search was launched around the Belfast shoreline that lasted until early on Thursday.

The PSNI spokesperson said: "Following an extensive search operation involving several agencies and volunteers, and after enquiries with the 37-year-old woman and her family, police now understand the report of a baby going into the water was incorrect. We do not believe there was a baby in the woman's care on the ferry."

The incident happened close to Holywood, County Down, on a busy passenger and freight route between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

John McPoland, a spokesman for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, said two ambulance crews treated the woman.

"She had been in the water for a while so you can understand that with the coldness of the water she would have been hypothermic," he said.