Two Australian DJs who made a prank call to a London hospital say they are "gutted, shattered and heartbroken" over the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha.
Mel Greig and Michael Christian, 2DayFM radio announcers, have been in hiding since the apparent suicide of Saldanha, who answered a prank call from the two seeking information about Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.
Greig and Christian finally broke their silence on two Australian television programs to express their regret over Saldanha's death, the Guardian reported.
"[It was] the worst phone call I've ever had in my life," a tearful Greig told the Nine network's A Current Affair program.
"There's not a minute that goes by that I don't think about what that family [of nurse Jacintha Saldanha] is going through and the thought that we may have contributed to it is gut-wrenching," she said.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported the pair sought to distance themselves from responsibility for the prank, saying that while they made the hoax call, it was up to others to decide whether to air it.
''You prank someone, you record it, then it goes to the other departments to work out what they want to do with it,'' Greig said.
''It's been done for years. It was routine for us. It wasn't anything different.''
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Gerig's co-host, Christian, added that ''there's a process in place'' for what goes to air, and the royal prank ''was put through every filter that everything is put through."
''We just made the phone call and that was it. We don't get to make those decisions, we don't get to make those calls, that's done by other people. Our role is just to record and get the audio and wait to be told whether it's OK or not OK.''
The station said it had tried to contact hospital staff five times before the recording went to air, NBC News reported.
Greig and Christian have been taken off the air and the future of their show is not known.
The radio station has received more than 1,000 complaints from listeners over the actions of the popular presenters, and social media sites have been bombarded with reactions.