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Fallen overboard: woman had been drinking, police say

Date

Stephanie Gardiner and Megan Levy

Body found ... police rescue at the scene where a woman went missing.

Body found ... police rescue at the scene where a woman went missing. Photo: Nick Moir

A woman who went missing from her family boat anchored at Rose Bay ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations had been drinking, police say.

Emergency services found a woman's body in the water near Catalina restaurant, in Sydney's eastern suburbs, at 6.15am.

Search ... police at the scene.

Search ... police at the scene. Photo: Nick Moir

The body has not been formally identified but is believed to be that of the missing woman, police said.

The family of four, from Sydney's north, are believed to have anchored 500 metres north of Lyne Park, preparing to watch the fireworks.

The 49-year-old mother stayed on the boat's deck when her husband and their son, 14, and daughter, 12,  went to bed on Sunday night.

The husband told police he woke up at 2am on Monday and discovered his wife was missing.

He phoned triple-0 and a search was launched involving local command officers, water police and the police helicopter.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter and a rescue boat from a nearby surf club also scoured the area.

Stephen Leahy, CEO of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter, said a small inflatable boat, used to reach the shore, was still attached to the back of the vessel.

Detective Inspector Darren Schott, from Marine Area Command, said the body has not been formally identified but police believe it is the missing woman.

He said police had been told she was a good swimmer.

"We have information the lady was drinking before going missing," Detective Inspector Schott said.

"We just want to remind everyone that boating and alcohol do not mix and the water is a dangerous environment, and if you're going to go boating please watch your alcohol intake."

He said the boat was one of many anchored in the "prime location" for the new year celebrations, but no one saw the woman go into the water.

"It's sad at this time of year to lose someone and my heart goes out to them," Detective Inspector Schott said.

"The husband is very distraught and he'll be spoken to at a later time."

The family were taken to Rose Bay police station on Monday morning, while forensic officers examined the boat.

The cruiser remains in the water at Rose Bay, and four officers returned to shore with evidence bags about 11am.

On Monday morning the bay was busy with sea planes, hundreds of boats and people taking their positions for the fireworks show.

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