World News

Australian station cooperating with investigation following deadly royal pregnancy hoax

Sunday, December 09, 2012
2DayFM Australian disc jockeys Mel Greig (left) and Michael Christian (right) are seen in this undated file photo. The two decided to go off the air after making a prank call to Kate Middletons hospital.

2DayFM Australian disc jockeys Mel Greig (left) and Michael Christian (right) are seen in this undated file photo. The two decided to go off the air after making a prank call to Kate Middleton's hospital. A nurse duped in the prank call later died in an apparent suicide. (KABC Photo)

The company that owns the Australian radio station behind the royal hoax phone call that fooled a King Edward VII hospital nurse says it's reviewing its broadcast practices.

The board of Southern Cross Austereo said it held an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss their actions following the death of a nurse who accepted 2DayFM radio station's prank call. Jacintha Saldanha, died in an apparent suicide three days after the hoax, sparking much controversy against the station.

The two radio disc jockeys behind the prank called King Edward VII Tuesday pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles fooling Saldanha to transfer the call to a nurse who then revealed exclusive information about the Duchess's condition.

"She's sleeping at the moment and she has had an uneventful night, she's been given some fluids, she's stable at the moment,'' the unidentified nurse told the pranksters, adding "I would suggest that any time after 9-o-clock will be suitable to visit. We'll be getting her freshened up."

The prank quickly regressed to the worst twist ever after Saldanha, a 46-year-old mother of two, died. Although police have not revealed her official cause of death, several reports indicated all signs pointed to a suicide.

The DJs have since apologized and been taken off the air indefinitely.

In a letter to the chairman of King Edward VII's Hospital, Southern Cross Austereo chairman Max Moore-Wilton said that the company will cooperate with any investigation.

"It is too early to know the full details leading to this tragic event and we are anxious to review the results of any investigation that may be made available to us or made public," he wrote. "I can assure you we are taking immediate action and reviewing the broadcast and processes involved."

Australian authorities said London police had contacted them about a possible investigation into the matter.

The radio station behind the Kate hospital prank call is said to have a history of pushing the boundaries of controversy after a number of tasteless stunts. In another incident, the station allegedly aired a segment where a 14-year-old girl revealed she had been raped.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority warned the station following the incident in 2009 and say it's considering launching an investigation following the recent royal hoax call.

Since Saldanha's death, Prince William has pulled out of his appearance at the British Military Tournament citing Kate's illness.

The Duchess of Cambridge has not been seen in public since she left King Edward VII Hospital on Thursday holding a bouquet of yellow roses.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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