Carnival Cruises Reports 2 People Missing Overboard in Australia

Surveillance video shows missing couple falling from the ship, police said.

ByABC News
May 9, 2013, 7:27 AM

May 9, 2013— -- Authorities in Australia are searching for a couple who apparently fell overboard on a Carnival Spirit cruise ship the night before it was scheduled to dock in Sydney, according to surveillance video, police said.

The couple -- a 30-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman -- was reported missing this morning after the ship docked at Sydney's Circular Quay at the end of a 10-day journey, New South Wales state Police Superintendent Mark Hutchings said, according to The Associated Press.

Hutchings said surveillance video from Wednesday night shows the couple from New South Wales falling from the ship's mid-deck about 65 miles off the coast of Forester, a city 185 miles from Sydney.

Police are investigating whether the couple jumped from the ship or fell by accident.

"This is a tragic event at the moment, but we're holding out hope we might be able to find these people alive," Hutchings said.

The couple's identities have not been released.

Police said in a statement that they were alerted about two hours after the ship docked that the couple was missing.

The ship immediately initiated standard missing-person procedures, including a full search of the vessel as per protocol. They were traveling with family and friends and initial reports indicate that they were last seen onboard the vessel Wednesday night, Carnival spokesman Peter Taylor said in a news release.

Police are using a plane and boats off the coast of Forster to search for the couple.

"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," Taylor said. "We are working closely with New South Wales Police and assisting them in their inquiries.

"Out of respect for the families, we won't be making further comment at this time," he added.

The couple had been among 2,680 passengers on a South Pacific cruise, according to the AP.

Carnival Corp. has been plagued by a series of issues this year, starting with engine room fire on the Carnival Triumph in February. The cruise line lost power and had to limp back to port with passengers reporting horrible conditions while stranded at sea for days.

In March, the Carnival Legend had technical issues with its propulsion system and cut short guests' vacations. The Carnival dream lost power in March, forcing passengers to leave the ship in St. Maarten and fly back the United States.

Perhaps the most high-profile mishap occurred last year when the Costa Concordia hit a rock off the coast of Italy, killing 32.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.