Prank call radio hosts apologize, "shattered" over apparent nurse suicide
(CBS News) Two Australian radio hosts are apologizing for their prank phone call to the hospital where Prince William's wife Catherine was being treated. The two say they were heartbroken to learn on Friday that the nurse who picked up the phone apparently had committed suicide.
This is the first time the two DJ's have spoken publicly on Australian national television since their prank call -- and the interviewer began by asking them if they remember the moment they found out nurse Jacintha Saldanha had killed herself.
2DayFM radio DJ Mel Greig said, "Unfortunately I remember that moment very well because I haven't stopped thinking about it since it happened. I remember my first question was, 'Was she a mother?' "
When she learned Saldanha was the mother of two children, Greig said she was "very sorry and saddened for the family." She said, "I can't imagine what they'd be going through."
Fellow DJ Michael Christian said, "I'm gutted, you know, shattered, heartbroken."
Last Tuesday, the two called London's King Edward VII Hospital -- where Prince William's wife, the Duchess of Cambridge -- was suffering from severe morning sickness.
Grieg pretended to be the queen on the call and asked, "Could I please speak to Kate please, my granddaughter?"
It was nurse Saldanha who put the call through, and the resulting conversation with an entirely different nurse went viral.
Greig said, "The accents (on the call) were terrible. It was designed to be stupid. We were never meant to get that far from the little corgis barking in the background. We obviously wanted it to be a joke."
Their boss now says the station did try to contact the hospital before broadcast. Southern Cross Austereo Chief Executive Rhys Holleran said, "We rang them up to discuss what we had recorded. ... We tried. We attempted to contact them on no less than five occasions."
Three days later, Saldanha was found dead in nurses' accommodation near the hospital. She was the mother of two teenage children.
British Member of Parliament Keith Vaz spoke with the family, "They are clearly shocked and devastated as to what has happened and bewildered that this has happened to their family."
As for Greig and Christian, they too looked shattered by their prank gone wrong. Greig said, "I care more about the family. I want to know that they've got the support that they need and that the public are being respectful of their privacy."
A poll in Australia of 11,000 people showed that two-thirds of those polled didn't blame the DJs for the nurse's apparent suicide. But the stock market reaction was more severe. The shares of the radio station's parent company were down 6 percent.
An investigation hasn't been initiated yet because it's not clear anything illegal has taken place. However, officials are waiting for the results of the Saldanha's postmortem, which is expected this week.
Watch Elizabeth Palmer's full report in the video above.
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