The search is on for two people missing off the coast of New South Wales.

CCTV footage reveals a couple fell over the railing of the cruise ship Carnival Spirit about 65 nautical miles east of Forster.

Jon Healy reports.


Nothing seemed awry when the Carnival Spirit docked in Sydney yesterday.

It wasn’t until staff searched the ship they realised they were missing two passengers, 30-year-old Paul Rossington and 27-year-old Kristen Schroder.

The couple were enjoying a ten-day pacific cruise with family and friends before their trip abruptly ended on Wednesday night.

Police are closely examining CCTV footage of the couple falling overboard at around 8:50pm on Wednesday night.

Det Supt Mark Hutchings: “Now that footage, whilst it’s not clear, we are determined that two people have gone off the side of the ship and we are currently in the middle of a marine search and rescue operation.”

Rescue efforts are in full throttle with authorities calling in the services of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the Westpac Rescue chopper.

Tony Wood, Westpac Rescue Helicopter Pilot: “It’s long and arduous and lots of strained eyes. We have certain ways that we search. From the horizon, From the aircraft up to the horizon. Using those techniques, if there’s someone out there and there’s not too much white chop then we should be able to spot them.”

Passengers trying to board the cruise liner for the journey to the Pacific Islands were left stranded on Circular Quay with no idea what had happened.

Passenger: “We were just told there was a customs issue and a delay so that’s all. That’s all we know.”

It wasn’t until later, news of the tragedy eventually reached them.

Passenger: “It’s not what I wanted to hear. Not when I’m about to go on it.”

Passenger: “I feel sick. I can’t believe it. Because I was always going where are the cameras in case anyone fell or jumped off?”

The cruise liner left Sydney this morning.

And late this afternoon we tracked its progress and located it here on route to Vanuatu and New Caledonia part of a ten-day South Pacific cruise.

Jon Healy, QUT News.