A CLOSE pal of a woman who jumped to her death from a luxury cruise ship has told how the mum’s mood changed dramatically a day before the tragedy.
Mum-of-three NatashaÂ Schofield, 47, from Brisbane, Australia, threw herself overboard on ThursdayÂ while on the “holiday of a lifetime”.
But her friend,Â Damon Smith, said Natasha would never have wanted to hurt her family.
He told Mail Online: “Tash would never intentionally hurt her husband or children, her family or friends – everything that has happened on that boat is the complete opposite to what she would ever want.
“She must have arrived in a very dark and desperate place in her mind, very very quickly.”
Mr Smith said he heard from Natasha’s husband that her behaviour began to change in the 24 hours leading up to her suicide.
He explained: “(Her husband) said she didn’t seem herself for just over a day but she assured him she was fine.”
A haunting photo shows the moment Natasha was swallowed up by the sea.
The mum can be seen bobbing about in the waves close to a life ring just seconds after falling from P&Oâs Pacific Dawn vessel.
The ship ground to a halt as the alarm was raised and crew searched the area throughout the night on Thursday.
But by Friday morning the search was abandoned as a huge swell surrounded the boat.
A P&O spokesman said expert advice was that âsurvival after this length of time in difficult sea conditions and after a full night at sea was not considered possibleâ.
Her body has not been found and she is presumed dead.
Initial reports suggested Ms Schofield was swept into the ocean by a colossal wave.
But police confirmed she jumped into the sea as she stood next to her husband on the deck.
Queensland Police Inspector Rob Graham said: âThis wasnât an accident.
âLetâs be open and honest about mental health.
âItâs a tragic end to what shouldâve been a lifetime holiday experience for a loving family.â
The couple were on the cruise with their three children â two girls and a boy, aged between 12 and 16.
Ms Schofieldâs partner desperately tried to catch her as she went over, police said.
Inspector Graham said: âWhat youâve got is a loving husband who was there when his wife departed.
âHer husband was standing right next to her when she went over.
âHer husband tried to grab on to her … her legs.â
Inspector Graham said police donât believe the children were in the area where she died.
He said: âWe can only hope they didnât see.
âWeâre just lucky that thereâs not two people missing.â
Officers reviewed CCTV footage and interviewed witnesses before making the announcement that it was a deliberate act.
CCTV showed the woman and her husband walking along the cruise deck after going for dinner before she went overboard, Inspector Graham said.
He said: âThey were walking along … stopped for a while, leaning over and then the intentional act took place.â
Witnesses had said the woman had been watching onboard activities moments before the incident and that they had seen her leaning over the edge, thinking she was vomiting.
Her distraught husband collapsed in shock after the incident, according to witnesses.
Passengers departing the ship after it arrived back in Brisbane today praised staff on the ship for their professionalism.
A version of this story originally appeared onÂ News.com.au.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans on (free)Â 116123 orÂ 020 7734 2800.Â