AN inquest opened into the death of a man who was found dead in The Solent after it was believed he went overboard from a Southampton-bound cruise ship.

Winchester Coroner’s Court opened the inquest into the death of Shane Searle, 42, from Exmouth who was last seen onboard the Ventura Cruise Ship on October 10.

As reported in the Daily Echo, a major search operation was launched for him at the time.

Cruise staff became concerned a man was missing at around 3.30am on the Saturday, and issued an announcement on board urging him to contact them.

Two lifeboats were deployed from Bembridge and Yarmouth, both on the Isle of Wight, in the early hours of Saturday to search for the passenger and helicopters from Portland in Dorset and Lee-on-the-Solent were also sent to help in the search.

The 25-nautical-mile search area was eight miles south of St Catherine’s Point on the Isle of Wight. The search was called off on October 11.

After the incident a P&O Cruises spokesman said: “Following reports of a missing person earlier this morning, Ventura conducted a full search of the area off the coast of the Isle of Wight.

“As a result of this search, which has now been handed over to the coastguard as is usual in these instances, Ventura’s scheduled arrival into Southampton this morning is delayed and it is anticipated that the ship will arrival at 12.30pm.

A spokeswoman for Winchester Coroner’s Court said: “A post mortem examination showed that no cause of death could be ascertained for Shane Searle. He was last seen alive on board MV Ventura as it was crossing The Solent on 10 October 2015.”

The inquest has been adjourned to March 17.