A wide air and sea search is underway off the eastern coast of Australia for two missing Carnival cruise ship passengers. Kristen Schroeder, 26, and Paul Rossington, 30, from New South Wales, were passengers aboard the Carnival Spirit. Per New South Wales Police Superintendent Mark Hutchings, the couple was missing when the ship had docked Thursday morning at Sydney’s Circular Quay following a 10-day cruise of the South Pacific.
The ship’s surveillance cameras show that the couple fell overboard from mid-deck Wednesday night. At that time, the ship was 65 nautical miles off the coast of Forster, 185 miles north of Sydney. Officials are enhancing the video for clues as to whether the couple had fallen or jumped. No life preservers were missing.
The couple was traveling with other family members and friends. Peter Taylor, spokesman for Carnival Cruise Lines, said when the couple was discovered missing, “standard missing person procedures” were immediately initiated, “including a full search of the vessel.”
The massive search and rescue operation is being coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. Spokeswoman Jo Meehan said the ASMA is using airplane, helicopter, and police boats to concentrate on a 300-square-nautical mile area.
Carnival Cruise Lines is a subsidiary of the Carnival Corp., based in Miami, which is the world’s largest cruise operator. Carnival Corp. has had several major problems aboard ships in recent years. Last year, 32 people were killed when the Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of Italy. The Costa Allegra caught fire in the Indian Ocean and left passengers without running water, working toilets, and air conditioning for three days. In February of this year, the Carnival Triumph was in the Gulf of Mexico when a fire broke out in the engine room. This left passengers without power for five days resulting in unsanitary conditions.
Carnival Spirit has a total guest capacity of 2,680 but the normal cruise capacity is 2,124. She has a crew of 930. She was built in Helsinki, Finland, and registered in the country of Malta.
Written by: Cynthia Collins, Guardian Correspondent
Source: Google world news