Radio Pranksters Who Posed as Queen Pulled Off Air After Nurse's Death
London's King Edward VII Hospital fell for a prank call from a radio station.
Dec. 7, 2012 — -- The two Australian radio hosts who prank called the hospital where Kate Middleton was being treated have been pulled off the air "until further notice" after the hoaxed nurse was found dead today.
"Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII's Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family and all that have been affected by this situation around the world," the radio station said in a statement posted on their Facebook page.
The station's chief executive spoke with the DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, and "they are both deeply shocked," the statement said. The parties agreed that the hosts would not comment on the situation.
"SCA and the hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy," the statement said.
In the Tuesday morning prank call, information about the duchess' condition was released by a nurse to Greig and Christian when they pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles looking to speak to Middleton, who was being treated at the hospital for acute nausea related to her pregnancy.
When the royal impersonators called the hospital, Saldanha put through to a second nurse who told the royal impersonators that Kate was "quite stable" and hadn't "had any retching."
"It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff," the hospital said in a statement released today.
"We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital," the statement said. "The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time."
The hospital said that Saldanha worked at the hospital for more than four years. They called her a "first-class nurse" and "a well-respected and popular member of the staff."
The hospital extended their "deepest sympathies" to family and friends, saying that "everyone is shocked" at this "tragic event."
"She will be greatly missed," the hospital said.
"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha," a spokesman from St. James Palace said in a statement.
"Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time," the statement said.
Police were called to an address near the hospital at about 9:35 a.m. GT today to "reports of a woman found unconscious," according to a statement from Scotland Yard.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. "Inquiries continue to establish the circumstances of the incident. Next of kin have been informed," the statement said.
Circumstances of the death being investigated, but are not suspicious at this stage, according to police.
The duchess spent three days at the hospital undergoing treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum, severe or debilitating nausea and vomiting. She was released from the hospital on Thursday morning.
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