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UPDATE: British tourist who swam four-hours after cruiseship in psychiatric hospital

With her extraordinary story now catalogued in almost all the UK’s newspapers, British cruiseship passenger Susan Brown, 65, who swam four hours after the Marco Polo off Madeira, mistakenly thinking her husband was on board, has now been interned in a psychiatric hospital.

But there is still no news as to whether husband Michael will be returning to the island to collect her.

Both the Daily Mirror and the couple’s local paper, the Bristol Post, have tried to be in touch with Mr Brown, to no avail.

Portuguese police have confirmed that he returned to the UK on Saturday night, as his wife launched herself into the sea in pursuit of their cruiseship – but the Mirror claims the couple’s bungalow in Fontmell Magna remains empty, and the Bristol Post writes that: “It is not known if he (Mr Brown) will fly back to the island of Madeira to visit his wife in hospital.”

What has transpired from the wealth of information coming through is that Mrs Brown’s life appears to have been saved by her handbag, which “filled with air and acted as a buoy”.

It was with this ‘life-saver’ that she was found, “looking like someone out of the film Titanic” in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Fishermen who pulled her to safety say they are quite certain she would not have lasted another half-hour in the water.

“It was a miracle situation,” Marildo Freitas told Lusa, as he and two others had only decided to go fishing “on the spur of the moment”.

Had they not been in the area, Mrs Brown’s fate would almost certainly have been very different.

As far as maritime police are concerned, the story unfurled as a result of an argument the couple had one month into their cruise, the final destination of which was Barbados.

They decided to return home from Madeira, but at the airport Mrs Brown became confused and thought her husband had returned to the ship without her.

Seeing the ship pass the airport on its way west, Mrs Brown ran down the steps to the sea and launched herself into the water, fully clothed, and clutching her handbag.

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