A CREW member on board a cruise ship bound for Southampton is missing presumed dead after he was seen jumping overboard.
Despite an extensive search by French search and rescue teams, the 31-year-old Filipino man has not been found.
The incident happened on Celebrity Eclipse eight miles north of Cherbourg at around 10.30pm last night.
Solent Coastguard Maritime Rescue confirmed that the French Coastguard had dealt with a man overboard incident in the French search and rescue region of the Channel.
A statement from Celebrity Cruises, who own the ship, said: “Last night, May 20 2011, as Celebrity Eclipse was sailing back to Southampton, a crew member was witnessed jumping overboard.
“The ship immediately turned around and headed towards the position where the crew member went overboard.
“The French Coast Guard were alerted who assisted with the search efforts.
“A review of the ship’s closed circuit camera footage observed that the crew member was on deck 3, climbed over the railing and went overboard.
“Unfortunately the missing crew member, a 31-year-old Filipino male, has not been found.
“Celebrity Cruises’ Care Team is providing support to the crew member’s family, as well as his friends and colleagues onboard, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Celebrity Eclipse was sailing a 14-night Italian Mediterranean cruise that departed Southampton on May 7.
The vessel was travelling from France to Southampton when the incident happened and docked in Southampton earlier today.
A French coastguard source said: "Unfortunately there was a man in the sea. We searched for him extensively but we could not find him.
"We deployed our resources to find him but it was to no avail and we can now presume that he is dead.
"The water was very cold and there is no hope for him."