A "massive search" to find a missing woman in the English Channel has been called off.

The coastguard had reported a female coach passenger was believed to have gone overboard from a Pride of Kent ferry at 1.30am but she has now been found.

However a witness told P&O Ferries he claimed he saw a man calmly finish his drink and threw himself over the ferry.

P&O spokesman Chris Laming said all the passengers had been accounted for but he said he did not rule out the possibility of the man being a stowaway.

He told the Dover Express: "We have had occasions when stowaways have gone back to France but usually it's the other way around.

"We couldn't absolutely rule it out."

The coastguard helicopter from Lee-on-Solent assisted the search, along with RNLI lifeboats from Dungeness, Dover, Walmer, and Calais, and a Port of Dover tug boat.

A HM Coastguard spokeswoman said earlier: "Dover Coastguard was contacted just after 0130 GMT by the ferry who reported that a female passenger was missing and they believed she had gone overboard.

"A massive search was launched. So far, nothing has been found."