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Australia radio station owner calls death of British nurse who took royal prank call 'truly tragic'

The radio company that employs the Australian DJs who made the prank call to Duchess Kate's hospital held an emergency board meeting to address the public outcry following the death of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who answered the call. NBC's Annabel Roberts reports

British police said Sunday they have contacted Australian authorities about a possible investigation into a radio station's prank call to a U.K. hospital about the Duchess of Cambridge.

Meanwhile, the company that owns the station promised to review its broadcast practices.


The prank took a dark twist Friday with the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, a 46-year-old mother of two, three days after she unwittingly accepted the call about the health of Prince William's pregnant wife, Kate. The death has sparked an angry backlash from those who argue the Australian DJs who carried out the hoax should be held responsible.

The board of Southern Cross Austereo had an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss a harsh letter from the hospital that fell for the call. King Edward VII's Hospital, where the former Kate Middleton was being treated for acute morning sickness this week, condemned the "truly appalling" hoax and called the consequences "tragic beyond words."

Max Moore-Wilton, the chairman of 2DayFM owner Southern Cross Austereo, said in a letter to the hospital's chairman Sunday that the company will cooperate with any investigation.

He wrote:

We are all saddened by the events of the last few days. They are truly tragic.

It is too early to know the full details leading to this tragic event and we are anxious to review the results of an investigation that may be made available to us or made public. We can assure you that we will be fully cooperative with all investigations.

As we have said in our own statements on the matter, the outcome was unforeseeable and very regrettable.

I can assure you we are taking immediate action and reviewing the broadcast and processes involved.

Our Company joins with you, all at King Edwards VII's Hospital and Mrs Saldanha's family and friends in mourning their tragic loss.

U.K.’s Metropolitan Police said Sunday it has contacted Australian authorities in connection with the investigation into Saldanha’s death. Australian police said they would cooperate. A New South Wales Police spokesman told The Telegraph: "As our policing colleagues in London continue to examine events leading up to the death of London nurse Jacintha Saldanha overnight, we will be providing them with whatever assistance is required."

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The radio station callers impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles and received confidential details about the former Kate Middleton's medical information. The call was recorded and broadcast.


2 Day FM radio presenters Mel Greig, left, and Michael Christian are seen In this undated supplied publicity photo.

Police have not yet determined Saldanha's cause of death or whether it was related to the call.

Both DJs involved apologized for the prank before Saldanha's death. Their show has been suspended indefinitely and their Twitter accounts have been taken down after they were bombarded by thousands of abusive comments.

The station's presenters have come under attack from around the world on social media sites and were "extremely distressed," a Southern Cross Austereo spokeswoman said.

Both were keen to speak publicly about the incident, but were in too fragile a condition to do so, the spokeswoman added.

The station has a history of controversy, including airing a segment in which a 14-year-old girl revealed that she had been raped. It also ran a series of "Heartless Hotline" shows in which disadvantage people were offered a prize that could be taken away from them by listeners.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority, which regulates radio broadcasting, says it received complaints from around the world and is considering whether it should launch an investigation

Separately, Prince William on Sunday pulled out of attending the British Military Tournament, billed as "the largest display of military theatre in the world", citing Kate's illness.

Officials from St. James's Palace have said the duchess is not yet 12 weeks pregnant. The child would be the first for her and William.

The radio DJs who prank called the hospital where Princess Kate Middleton was being treated are facing tremendous backlash following the death of one of the nurses who spoke with them. NBC's Annabel Roberts reports.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this story.

More world stories from NBC News:

With light and love

by on Dec. 9, 2012 at 5:23 PM
Replies (11-20):
by on Dec. 9, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Oh yes. 100%


by on Dec. 9, 2012 at 5:39 PM

 Because she killed herself as a result of the harassment she received from patching the call through. 

Quoting Mrsfarr:

It says she died three days after the call... How does that make it their fault?


by Anonymous 2 on Dec. 9, 2012 at 5:39 PM
How does a prank call result in death? Not seeing how it was related.
by Ruby Member on Dec. 9, 2012 at 5:40 PM
Yes. Indirectly its their fault.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
by on Dec. 9, 2012 at 5:43 PM
Did she kill herself?
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Dec. 9, 2012 at 5:49 PM
1 mom liked this
Oh. Ok. I didn't read the whole thing. Once I got to the part that she died three days after, I was confused...

To kill yourself over something like that you would already need to be a bit unstable though. Like constantly thinking you're worthless or can't do anything right and contemplate suicide "to make things better for others" type of situation and that just pushing you over the edge.
The real problem here is that no one saw this woman had a problem and tried to help.

They probably do feel very responsible but didn't physically kill her so they're still not really at fault.

Quoting kngarber:

 Because she killed herself as a result of the harassment she received from patching the call through. 

Quoting Mrsfarr:

It says she died three days after the call... How does that make it their fault?


Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
by on Dec. 9, 2012 at 5:50 PM
1 mom liked this

no! it was a joke. They never expected to get past anyone that is clear from the recording.

by Betsy on Dec. 9, 2012 at 6:01 PM

This is what I think too.  

Quoting 702girly:

Wait... she killed herself over this?

She was obviously a very sick woman long before the radio station made that call.

With light and love

by on Dec. 9, 2012 at 6:03 PM

there are a lot of people who think she was KILLED..........too many mysterious deaths in Britain lately- think of those who died who were involved in the whistle blowing over the BBC pedophile ring!!

by Betsy on Dec. 9, 2012 at 6:03 PM

They think so, but police aren't sure of cause of death, nor if the phone call is related.

Quoting MommyOfOnee:

Did she kill herself?

With light and love

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