Huge rescue mission launched after two cruise passengers overboard in Australia

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Huge rescue mission launched after two cruise passengers overboard in Australia

A large search and rescue mission has been launched after it was discovered two cruise passengers were missing from a luxury liner when it docked in Sydney Harbour.

The young couple from New South Wales, a man of 30 and a 27-year-old woman, were last seen on Wednesday night.

They were discovered missing when the Carnival Spirit docked at Sydney's Circular Quay on Thursday morning at the end of a 10-day journey.

Peter Taylor, spokesman for the ship's operator, Carnival Cruise Lines, told the Daily Telegraph: "The guests in question were travelling with family and friends, and initial reports indicate that the couple was last seen onboard the vessel last night (Wednesday)."

A search co-ordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority consisting of police boats, a plane and a helicopter, is concentrating on a 300-square-nautical mile area of sea north of Sydney.

According to Fox News, a surveillance video showed that the couple fell from the ship's mid deck, when the ship was about 65 nautical miles off the coast of Forster, a city 185 miles north of Sydney.

New South Wales state Police Superintendent Mark Hutchings said: "This is a tragic event at the moment, but we're holding out hope we might be able to find these people alive."

The couple had been among 2,680 people travelling on the South Pacific cruise, which is thought to have visited Fiji and New Zealand.

According to the Daily Mail, the 959ft, 88,500-ton vessel has "a host of areas for outdoor fun, including a corkscrew water slide, four swimming pools, a miniature golf course, jogging track and a sport court".

Carnival Cruise Lines is a subsidiary of Carnival Corp, the world's largest cruise operator, which also owned the Costa Concordia, the liner that ran aground off the coast of Italy last year, killing 32 people.

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