Australia seeks two passengers lost from cruise ship

Reuters News
Posted: May 09, 2013 6:03 PM

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian emergency crews were searching on Friday for two people who fell overboard from a Carnival Corp cruise liner off the New South Wales coast.

Police said surveillance camera footage from the ship showed the 30-year-old man and 27-year-old woman, both Australian, fell from the mid-deck around 8:50 p.m. AEST (1150 GMT) on Wednesday.

The pair were reported missing when the Carnival Spirit docked in Sydney on Thursday after completing a South Pacific tour.

Search-and-rescue planes and boats were scouring an area covering about 500 square nautical miles off Australia's eastern coastline.

"I must be honest, our hopes are fading because of the length of time but we are going full throttle to try find them," NSW Police Marine Area Commander Mark Hutchings told Sky News television on Friday when asked if police believed the pair were still alive.

Hutchings said the couple had gone off the ship "one after the other", but it was unclear whether they had jumped or fallen by accident.

Miami-based Carnival Corp, the world's largest cruise operator, has been plagued by a series of high-profile problems in recent months.

In February, its Carnival Triumph cruise ship was adrift for five days in the Gulf of Mexico following an engine fire, stranding more than 3,000 passengers without electricity and adequate sanitation.

It is also coping with repercussions from the sinking of its Costa Concordia ship in Italy in January 2012, which claimed 32 lives.

(Reporting By Jane Wardell; Editing by Michael Roddy)