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UK prank call: We are shattered, sorry for the nurse's family, say Australian radio hosts

CNN-IBN
Dec 10, 2012 at 02:18pm IST

Sydney: In their first interview after Indian-origin nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found dead following a hoax call made by them to the King Edward VII hospital in Marylebone, Australian radio hosts said that they are shattered and heart broken by the incident. "There's not a minute that goes by when we don't think about her family and what they must be going through and the thought we may have played a part in that is gut-wrenching," said Mel Greig.

Mel Greig and Michael Christian of Sydney-based 2DayFM by managing to impersonate Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, received confidential information about the Duchess's medical condition from Saldanha on Tuesday. The controversial prank, however, took a dark twist three days later when Saldanha, a 46-year-old mother of two, was found hanging at nurses' quarters next to the private King Edward VII hospital on Friday.

ALSO SEE Tried contacting hospital before airing nurse's interview: Australian radio station

Kate is pregnant and was admitted to King Edward VII hospital - where Saldanha was employed - for acute morning sickness. The Duchess has been resting and has not been seen in public since leaving the hospital.

"These prank calls are made every day, on every radio station, in every country around the world and they have been for a long time and no one could've imagined this to happen," said Greig in the interview. "There was no maligning, no digging or trying to upset with that call," added Christian.

Breaking down often during the interview, Christian said that both the radio hosts are shattered and heart broken by the incident. "We are still trying to get our heads around to make a sense of what has happened," she said.

Christian said it was an "innocent" act to make a prank call to the hospital and they could have never predicted that it would take such a "tragic turn". "What is important right now is that the family gets support. That is what is important. It is nothing more than a tragic turn of events that no one could have predicted. We are incredibly sorry," she said.

Greig also reiterated that the call was not malicious and "from the start to finish there was no harm intended". "If we had any involvement in her death, we are really sorry about that...We feel so sorry for the family that this happened to them," he said.

Meanwhile, the radio channel has defended the prank call incident saying it tried to contact the hospital five times before airing Saldanha's interview. "It is absolutely true to say that we did attempt to contact those people on multiple occasions. We rang them up to discuss what we had recorded," said Southern Cross Austereo Chief Executive Rhys Holleran.

The Scotland Yard has also begin its investigation into the case and has been assured cooperation by Australian police. Police have not yet determined the cause of death of the nurse, but people from London to Sydney have been making the assumption that she died because of stress from the call.

The nurse's death sparked an angry backlash against the Australian radio hosts, who were taken off the air indefinitely. The radio station also announced an immediate review of its broadcast practices after the debacle. Both radio hosts involved had apologised for the prank before Saldanha's death. Their Twitter accounts have been taken down after they were bombarded by thousands of abusive comments.

Meanwhile, Saldanha's family in India has said that her funeral would be held at Shirva in Karnataka later this week after her husband flies down with the body.

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