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Search off for Australian couple who fell from cruise ship 10 мая 2013, 15:57

Australian officials Friday called off a massive air and sea search for a couple who fell overboard during a cruise, as the cruise ship company involved said safety was its first priority.
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Australian officials Friday called off a massive air and sea search for a couple who fell overboard during a cruise, as the cruise ship company involved said safety was its first priority, AFP reports. Police said surveillance footage shows Paul Rossington, 30, and Kristen Schroder, 27, going overboard just before 9:00pm (1100 GMT) on Wednesday when the boat was about 60 nautical miles off Australia's New South Wales coast. The pair, who are both Australian, were not discovered missing until the Carnival Spirit, which had completed a 10-day Pacific Islands journey, docked at Sydney's Circular Quay the following morning and they failed to disembark. Police Marine Area Commander Mark Hutchings would not speculate on whether they jumped or fell. "It's very unclear (the footage), but it does depict one person going over and then a short time (later) another person going over," he said. "We can't tell from the footage which is which." Searchers aided by aircraft from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and a Navy helicopter had scoured an area stretching from Sydney Harbour to Newcastle -- north of Sydney -- for Schroder and Rossington, who is a paramedic. But with hopes fading, the search covering a 500 square nautical mile area was ended at about 5:00pm (0800 GMT) Friday. "It's called off pending further information," a police spokesman told AFP, adding that the information would be something such as a sighting of one of the pair. Carnival Australia chief executive Ann Sherry said safety and security were the number one priority for the cruise industry and such incidents were rare. "The suggestion that this happens often is simply not true," she told reporters. Sherry said the heights of railings on ships were regulated, and on this particular vessel they were higher than required by international protocols. Asked whether it was possible that somebody could fall and trip overboard, Sherry said: "I think it would be highly unlikely, but again in this case the police are conducting a full investigation so I will wait and see what they come back with. "The police have got the CCTV footage, they will determine and make a finding on exactly what's gone on," she said. Police cleared the ship to leave port late Thursday, with the missing couple's room locked to future guests until further notice.

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