A couple is believed to have fallen from a luxury cruise ship off the coast of Australia, sparking an air and sea search and rescue operation.
The 30-year-old man and 26-year-old woman traveling with family and friends were discovered missing when the Carnival Spirit docked in Sydney after a 10-night cruise, according to a statement from the New South Wales (NSW) police service.
Carnival Spirit is operated by Carnival Corp., which also operated the Costa Concordia, which ran aground off the coast of Italy last year killing 32 people.
The Sydney Morning Herald named the missing pair as Paul Rossington and Kristen Schroder from the state of NSW, the capital of which is Sydney.
Police and Australian Search and Rescue (AusSAR) had deployed aircraft and marine vessels to a search site.
NSW state Police Superintendent Mark Hutchings said surveillance video from Wednesday night shows the couple, also from NSW, falling from the ship's mid-deck about 65 miles off the coast of Forester, a city 185 miles from Sydney.
TV reports suggested that the couple did not fall exactly at the same time, and the authorities were investigating whether the couple jumped from the ship or fell by accident.
The SMH wrote that their disappearance was not considered suspicious.
They were only reported missing when the ship docked in at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Sydney early on Thursday morning.
Hutchings reportedly said:
"We believe they were up mid-deck, which is half way up the side of the ship which is quite away to fall. At the moment I've said to my staff it's game on and we are going to be pulling out all stops to try to find these people at the moment."
Carnival Corp., has been plagued by problems in recent years.
Along with the Costa Concordia, its Costa Allegra was left stricken in the Indian Ocean after an on-board fire cut its power. Passengers were left without working toilets, running water or air conditioning for three days.
And in February, passengers aboard the Carnival Triumph spent five days without power in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine-room fire.
According to Australia's ABC News, Carnival Sprit at the end of a 10-day Pacific Island cruise when they went overboard.
It cited the spokesman for a group that campaigns for more accountability aboard cruise ships, International Cruise Victims, Mark Brimble as saying:
"This is an unregulated industry that is taken the law into its own hands and saying that it's doing its best practices or zero tolerance to certain items, but regulation needs to be put in place where there is accurate recording of what's going on board these ships, that there's sufficient training and personnel put in place, even CCTV cameras, they need to be manned and watched."
Brimble's wife, Dianne, died aboard a P&O cruise ship in 2002.
"There is technology out there now that allows for an alarm to be made when a person goes overboard. That would get a ship to stop, that would get a ship to go back and see if they can find any person that may or may not have gone overboard."