An official in Portugal's Madeira Islands says a 65-year-old British woman told police she tried to swim out to her passing cruise ship in the dark before being rescued by fishermen after four hours in the sea.

Felix Marques, harbor captain at Madeira's Funchal port, said Susan Brown told maritime police that she and her husband decided Saturday to fly home early from their cruise which had stopped over in Madeira.

However, Marques said she later lost sight of him at Funchal airport and that she had tried to swim back to the ship after she saw it sailing away, thinking that her husband might have been on board.

Marques said Monday that Brown was taken to hospital with advanced hypothermia and is currently in a psychiatric ward.