Miracle Brit air hostess, 46, 'climbed railing and jumped off cruise ship's 4ft barrier after drunken row with boyfriend' before surviving 10 hours at sea

An Italian source today exclusively told The Sun Online that cops are working on the theory Kay Longstaff "most likely jumped" and there was no foul play.

Kay, an air hostess, plunged into the sea from the cruise ship as it sailed to Venice from the port of Vargarola near Pula, Croatia.

The 46-year-old from Cheltenham went overboard sometime before midnight on Saturday night.

She then spent 10 hours floating at sea – later crediting her yoga training with keeping her fit enough to survive.

After the cruise ship had circled back around, the Croatian coastguard joined the search and miraculously plucked her from the sea about a mile from where she jumped.

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Today an Italian source said: "Officers spoke with the woman's partner on the ship when it arrived in Venice.

"We have seen the footage and we are happy there was no foul play involved. The partner was released and no one has been placed under official investigation.

"The footage has been viewed and you can clearly see she was there on her own when she fell. She was not pushed. The theory we are working on is that she most likely jumped.

"A file is being prepared for the local prosecutor who will decide what to do but at the moment it looks like an individual lone action.

"The boyfriend said they had been drinking and they had quarrelled. He went back to his cabin and left her.

"The next thing he knew he was woken by the crew to say they thought she was missing as they had found her bag and belongings."

It comes after a passenger told today The Sun Online: "She didn't fall off, she jumped off. She took all her kit off and jumped off the side of the ship.

"This is what the crew told us when we were on the ship before disembarking. You can kind of tell by the pictures that she wasn't wearing much when she was rescued."

After her rescue, Kay had told Croatian media: "I fell off the back of the Norwegian Star and I was in the water for about 10 hours. These wonderful guys rescued me."

But today multiple passengers came forward to reveal she had been arguing with her partner earlier that evening.

One said she had been drinking and had been "having rows" with her partner "all day".

He added: "When the police came on to the ship – before letting us get off – they were going around asking after which staff members were serving us alcohol. I think they wanted to know who'd been serving her.

"Her (partner) was looking for her for hours before the alarm was raised that she'd gone overboard."

A second person said Kay and her partner "were arguing", adding: "This is what (the) concierge told us willingly."

A third added: "My wife and I had a cabin just above hers at the back.

"When the incident was reported by the Captain at 0600, he said that an area in the middle of deck 7 had been sealed off.

"When getting off the boat, seven hours late, a number of passengers were saying there had been a midnight dispute amongst the Longstaff party."

A crew member from the Norwegian Star ship, Daniel Punch, today also wrote on Facebook that the 46-year-old had "jumped" and had been "arguing with her fella the whole time," MailOnline reported.

Kay's boyfriend, expat electrician Craig Rayment, with whom she was reportedly arguing, was expected to visit her today.

Meanwhile, a rescuer has revealed how Kay told them how she survived 10 hours in the sea.

They said: "She said the fact that she practices yoga helped her as she was fit. And she said she was singing to not feel cold in the sea overnight."

She is believed to have gone overboard around 60 miles south of Pula shortly before midnight last night.

Photos show the Norwegian Cruise ship has safety railings designed to prevent people from falling overboard which are around four feet high.

The edges of the ships are also closely monitored by CCTV cameras. It's not clear at this stage if Kay fell or jumped.

Kay's ex partner today said he was "very worried" about her, amid a claim from crew member Daniel Punch that she purposely jumped.

She was found at around 9.30am this morning local time (8.30am UK time) around a mile from where she vanished and was lifted to safety.

Wearing just denim shorts and a top, Kay plucked from the 20C water by coastguards and taken on board a rescue boat.

Asked her name and where she was from by reporters, she replied: "Kay… from England".

She was then treated by medics and taken to hospital in Pula where she was kept for monitoring by doctors, before being released by doctors today.

A hospital official confirmed: "The British woman was brought to the hospital and her life is not endangered."

Croatian authorities are set to examine CCTV footage from the ship amid reports the alarm was raised after she left her bag and passport on deck.

It is understood the Brit, who was said to have signs of hypothermia when found, was later reunited with her family, who were also on the liner.

Friends of Kay's have now taken to social media to wish her well.

One wrote: "Omg so pleased you're OK and you're strength got you through that horrid ordeal… bless you… so pleased you are ok darling xxxxxx."

Another wrote: "OMG Kay! So glad you're ok I couldn't believe my eyes xxx."

'Warm sea big boost to chance of survival'


SEA survival expert Mike Tipton said last night Kay was lucky to have plunged into warm water.

He added: “It would have been a pretty frightening experience but everything that needed to be in place for her to survive was in place. It was warm water and it was flat, calm water.

“The survival times are usually one hour in five degrees, two hours in ten, six in 15.

“But as soon as you get to around 20C then you can predict survival up to about 25 hours.”

Mr Tipton, co-author of Essentials of Sea Survival, went on:  “Being female she is going to have about ten per cent more body fat than a man so she is going to be able to float.”

He added: “The  luckiest thing was they were able to find her. It really would have been like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Kay said she was “sitting at the back” when she fell from the ship at about 11.45pm on Saturday.

Croatian Ministry of Maritime Affairs spokesman David Radas said: “Our rescuers were in touch with the Norwegian Star’s crew and by checking  CCTV knew the exact moment she fell in the water.
“Because they knew the time, they were able to know the exact position of the ship.”

He also told The Daily Telegraph: "After they found her the rescued woman was not injured, just exhausted, hypothermical and in shock.

"When they reached the coast she felt pretty much recovered. That was also confirmed the hospital staff after they conducted preliminary health check.

"Police continues its work under its responsibility. The public will be informed accordingly. There is no particular news in that sense since yesterday."

A spokesman for the cruise company said: "A report was made that a guest aboard Norwegian Star had gone overboard while the ship was returning to Venice.

"As soon as the report was made the ship began a search and notified the appropriate authorities. The ship will be delayed on her return to Venice."

Ship captain Lovro Oreskovic added: "The British woman was exhausted when we pulled her out of the water.

"Luckily for her and for us we have located her at the open sea.

"She was raising her hands and waving when she noticed the ship, it was a real miracle that she survived not only the fall from 20 metres but spending 10 hours in the sea. That is a rare case.

"On a cruiser they thought she did not survive. But obviously she was fit and has made it. We were extremely happy for saving a human life."

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