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Ferry plunge woman freed after lost baby claim

A WOMAN arrested on suspicion of wasting police time after a major search for a baby feared lost at sea was today released from custody.

Officers said a report will be prepared for the Public Prosecution Service.

The land and sea operation in Belfast Lough was cancelled when police said initial reports that an infant had fallen from a ferry were incorrect.

The search started after the woman plunged from the Stena Line vessel as it made its way into port from Cairnryan in Scotland on Wednesday night.

The 37-year-old woman, from Belfast, was rescued within 15 minutes and taken to the city's Royal Victoria Hospital for treatment, and was arrested on Thursday afternoon.

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

Agencies, including the police helicopter, the Irish Coastguard and the RNLI were involved in the search which continued into the night and resumed early on Thursday morning.

Police later said they no longer believed a baby had been in the woman's care.