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No Baby Fell From Northern Ireland Ferry: Woman Charged With Wasting Police Time

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There was no baby on board and a woman has been arrested with wasting police time
There was no baby on board and a woman has been arrested with wasting police time

Reports of a baby fallen from a ferry in Northern Ireland are now understood to be untrue, and a 37-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of wasting police time.

A statement from the Northern Ireland police said that the woman is "currently helping police with their enquiries at a Belfast PSNI Station. "

Police called off the search operation in Belfast Lough earlier on Thursday, after an extensive search for the missing infant, who was thought to have plunged from the Stena Line boat along with a 37-year-old woman as the ferry made its way into Belfast port from Cairnryan on Scotland's western coast last night.

The woman was rescued and taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for treatment, after being recovered by a pilot boat 15 minutes after the alarm was raised.

The sea search for the infant restarted this morning in poor weather conditions. The extensive search involved several agencies and volunteers. However after enquiries with the 37-year-old woman and her family, police do not believe there was a baby in the woman's care on the ferry.

The incident happened in Belfast Lough, close to Holywood, Co Down, at around 6.10pm on a busy shipping route for passengers and freight between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

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

"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.

Agencies, including the police helicopter, the Irish Coastguard and the RNLI were been involved in the search for the baby.

Police Service of Northern Ireland officers boarded the ferry, which is docked in Belfast Port.

A PSNI spokesman said: "It was reported that two people fell into the water from a ferry. One person was rescued and was taken to hospital for treatment for suspected hypothermia.

All Stena Line sailings to and from Belfast were cancelled last night and Belfast Port was closed.