Sea search ends for 2 Australian cruise passengers

SYDNEY, Australia

Aircraft and ships that covered 4,670 square kilometers (1,360 square nautical miles) of ocean during the search north of Sydney did not find any sign of the Australian couple, New South Wales state police said in a statement.

Paramedic Paul Rossington, 30, and his 26-year-old girlfriend Kristen Schroder were discovered missing Thursday morning after the Carnival Spirit docked at Sydney's Circular Quay at the end of a 10-day South Pacific cruise. The search began within hours.

Surveillance camera footage showed the couple was outside their cabin when they fell more than 20 meters (65 feet) from the ship's mid deck Wednesday night, Police Superintendent Mark Hutchings said. At the time, the ship was about 120 kilometers (65 nautical miles) off the coast of Forster, a city 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of Sydney.

Carnival Spirit is owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise operator. Carnival Corp.'s representative in the South Pacific region, Ann Sherry, chief executive of Carnival Australia, said safety was paramount for the company, noting that the railing over which the couple fell was 5 centimeters (2 inches) higher than industry safety regulations mandate.

The apparent tragedy is the latest high-profile problem for Carnival Corp.

Last year, the Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people. Also last year, the Costa Allegra caught fire and lost power in the Indian Ocean, leaving passengers without working toilets, running water or air conditioning for three days. Costa is a division of Carnival Corp.

In February, passengers aboard the Carnival Triumph spent five days without power in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine-room fire disabled the vessel. Those on board complained of squalid conditions, including overflowing toilets and food shortages.

Take ABC13 with you!
Download our free apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices

Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.