Carnival Cruise Lines' 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit.(Photo: Carnival Cruise Lines)
(USA TODAY) -- A massive search is underway for a young couple missing from a Carnival cruise ship.
Kristen Schroder, 27, and Paul Rossington, 30, were last seen on the Carnival Spirit on Wednesday as it was sailing off the coast of Australia, and security footage appears to show them going overboard around 8:50 pm, according to a statement from the local New South Wales Police Force.
An Australian news outlet, The Australian, quotes a local police official as saying it's too early to say whether the couple fell or jumped off the vessel.
In a statement sent to USA TODAY, Carnival's Australia office says the couple was discovered missing early today after the ship docked in Sydney, Australia at the end of a 10-night sailing. A search of the vessel was begun immediately, it says.
We have naturally been concerned since we became aware that two passengers were missing from Carnival Spirit, and our thoughts are clearly with their families at this difficult time," the Carnival statement says. "We are working closely with New South Wales Police and assisting them in their inquiries."
The statement says the couple was traveling with family and friends, and "out of respect for the families," the company won't be making further comment for now.
A statement from the New South Wales Police Force says an air and marine search and rescue operation is underway off the coast of Australia to find the couple. The search is focusing on an area of the sea about 60 nautical miles east of Forster, Australia.
The 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit is based in Australia year-round. One of 24 ships at the line, it sails eight- to 12-night voyages to the South Pacific out of Sydney and Melbourne, Australia that are primarily aimed at Australians.