A British woman who survived falling from a cruise ship off the coast of Croatia, said she is “very lucky to be alive”.

Kay Longstaff, 46, was rescued by the coastguard 10 hours after falling into the Adriatic Sea around midnight on Saturday.

The woman, who was sailing on Norwegian Star, was taken to hospital in the town of Pula.

She told local media: “I’m very lucky to be alive”. I was in the water for 10 hours, so these wonderful guys rescued me.”

The rescue vessel’s captain, Lovro Oreskovic, said she was “exhausted” when they found her, adding: “We were extremely happy for saving a human life.”

A statement from Norwegian Cruise Line confirmed that a guest had gone overboard while the ship was on its way from Vargarola to Venice.

It said: “We are pleased to advise that the guest was found alive, is currently in stable condition, and has been taken ashore in Croatia for further treatment.

“We are very happy that the individual, who is a UK resident, is now safe and will soon be reunited with friends and family.”

The Foreign Office confirmed it had been notified of the incident.