Australian authorities launched a maritime search Thursday morning for a couple that disappeared from a cruise ship. Police have not released the names of the missing, but said they are both Australian citizens from the state of New South Wales. The 30-year-old man and the 26-year-old woman were joined by seven of their family and friends on the 10-day Carnival cruise.
According to reports, the couple’s disappearance was first discovered Thursday morning when they failed to claim their luggage after the Carnival ship Spirit docked at Circular Quay in Sydney. Authorities were notified of the situation about 2 hours after Spirit docked. A review of footage from surveillance cameras revealed that the couple fell overboard Wednesday night. Spirit was about 93 miles from the city of Forster. Forster is located about 185 miles north of Sydney.
"We believe that they were up mid-deck, which is halfway up the side of the ship, which is quite a way to fall," says New South Wales Police Detective Superintendent Mark Hutchings. "It's game on and we are going to be pulling out all stops to try and find these people.”
Carnival spokesman Peter Taylor said the company is “working closely” with police. "We have naturally been concerned since we became aware that two passengers were missing from Carnival Spirit and our thoughts are clearly with their families at this difficult time. We are working closely with New South Wales Police and assisting them in their inquiries,” he said. “Out of respect for the families, we won't be making further comment at this time.”
The company has dealt with a host of serious problems in recent years. In 2012, the Costa Concordia hit a reef off the coast of Italy. Thirty-two people were killed. Three months ago, the Carnival Triumph was left adrift without power in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine room fire. The ship had to be towed back to port and miserable passengers reported living with overflowing toilets and a food shortage for 5 days.
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