UPDATE: Facebook users flood 2Day FM’s Facebook page after death of nurse in prank call

7 Dec 2012

Facebook users are leaving scathing messages on the Facebook page of Australian radio station 2Day FM following what may be the suicide of a nurse who answered a prank call from two of the station’s DJs regarding Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. The two DJs behind the prank have been suspended until further notice.

The nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, who was helping out at reception, answered the call to King Edward VII hospital in central London at 5.30am on Wednesday.

The DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, were pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles. Greig asked to speak to Catherine, who was admitted on Monday with severe morning sickness. Saldanha then transferred the call to a colleague on the duchess’ ward, who disclosed the duchess’ condition.

This morning, police responded to a call to an address near King Edward VII hospital about a woman found unconscious. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene by ambulance staff, Reuters reported, and the hospital issued a statement.

“It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha,” said the hospital, from which Catherine was discharged yesterday.

“We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her.”

Saldanha was a wife and the mother of two children.

Police are treating her death as unexplained though The Daily Mail reported one source as having indicated that the woman appeared to have killed herself.

Australia’s The Herald Sun reported today that both DJs deleted their Twitter accounts overnight, after a flood of messages criticising them after news of the nurse’s death became public.

As of writing, 2Day FM’s Facebook page is still live, with users leaving scathing messages by the hundreds.

Facebook posts

The radio station has yet to respond, likely because it is about 4am in Sydney, where the radio station is based.

UPDATE: At about 6.30pm GMT, 2Day FM released the following statement on its Facebook page:

“Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII’s Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family and all that have been affected by this situation around the world.

“Chief executive officer Rhys Holleran has spoken with the presenters, they are both deeply shocked and at this time we have agreed that they not comment about the circumstances. SCA and the hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy.”

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic