A WOMAN arrested following false claims that a baby had fallen overboard with her on a Stena ferry sailing between Cairnryan may have thrown a doll into the sea.
Tracy Dawn Burns, who is known as Dawn McCann, 37, from Belfast was arrested following a huge search of Belfast Lough last Wednesday evening after a passenger saw her in the water and spotted an empty pram on the deck.
McCann was plucked from the chilly seas just 15 minutes later but the search for the baby, claimed by some to have been a doll, continued.
The ferry, which was preparing to dock just after 6pm, was searched by CID teams and docked overnight with the closure of Belfast Port.
Helicopters, Lifeboats, Coastguard teams and police officers from both Northern Ireland and Galloway searched the coastline and waters overnight and into the afternoon of last Thursday
Pals of McCann came forward over the weekend to say she had claimed on Facebook that she had announced a pregnancy before disappearing from the area for some time. She then posted that she had given birth to a child who had been flown to a Liverpool hospital for specialist care.
Pictures then appeared of a child wired up to machines, but pals were quoted in daily press to have said it was clear the ‘baby’ in the collection of photos was a doll.
The passenger who raised the alarm that a woman had fallen from the ferry revealed that he had not seen a baby.
He said: “I was looking in the other direction when I heard the splash. I could see a person in the water. But I could not tell if it was a woman or a man. But I definitely could not see a baby in the water.
“I have heard reports on the news that a baby was seen falling into the water. I don’t think anyone witnessed it. There was an empty pram on the deck with a mobile phone in it but I don’t know who owned it.”
Police said on Thursday afternnon of last week that they no longer believed a baby had gone into the water.
A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) spokesman said: “Police have called off the search operation in Belfast Lough which began yesterday evening after a report that a baby had gone into the water with a woman who was later rescued.
“Following an extensive search operation involving several agencies and volunteers and after enquiries with the 37-year-old woman and her family, police now understand the report of a baby going into the water was incorrect.
“Police do not believe there was a baby in the woman’s care on the ferry.
“The woman, who is from Belfast, remains in a stable condition in hospital.
“Police enquiries are continuing.”