CRUISE TRAGEDY – Friday May 10 2013

– It was meant to be a luxurious, 10-day Pacific Island adventure.
But holiday turned to heartbreak for the family and friends of a young couple who were declared missing yesterday after plunging more than 20m from the mid-deck of the ‘Carnival Spirit’.
A massive helicopter search was conducted last night by NSW Police, assisted by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in the waters surrounding Port Stephens, where it is believed the couple fell.
The man, 30, and his female partner, 26, were with a group of seven family and friends when they failed to disembark yesterday morning.
Police were called and a full search of the boat and CCTV footage revealed the pair had fallen from the mid-deck, which is lined by a 2.5m-high barricade.
Detective Superintendent Mark Hutchings said there was still hope the couple might be found alive, adding: “I’ve said to my staff it’s game on and we’re pulling out all the stops to try and find them.
“Staff tell me they may be (alive) so we’re going to push hard. There’s a chance so we’re going to keep looking.”
Detective Hutchings said there were no witnesses to the incident and no life rings were missing from the ship.
The marine search will stretch from Sydney Harbour to Newcastle.
The 292m ‘Carnival Spirit’ began docking permanently in Sydney in October. It holds up to 2680 guests and 1000 crew and is too big to fit under Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Carnival Cruise communications spokesman Peter Taylor said the company was cooperating fully with police.
Mr Taylor said hundreds of CCTV cameras were deployed on all passenger decks on the ship, with infra-red cameras also assisting deckhands monitor the surrounding waters.
It was business as usual for thousands of passengers at Circular Quay, as they queued to board for the next Pacific Islands cruise.
While the cabin occupied by the couple is expected to remain barricaded pending the police finishing inquiries, the ship set sail, on schedule, at 6:30pm – Simon Black & Phil Jacob


About Jumpin' Jack Cash
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