Australian DJs apologize for royal hoax call

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Three days later, Saldanha was found dead at the hospital’s nurses’ accommodation.

The DJs said when the idea for the call came up in a team meeting, no one expected that they would actually be put through to the duchess’ ward.

“We just assumed we’d get cut off at every single point and that’d be it,” Christian said.

“The joke 100 percent was on us,” he said. “The idea was never, `Let’s call up and get through to Kate,’ or `Let’s speak to a nurse.’ The joke was our accents are horrible, they don’t sound anything like who they’re intended to be.”

Southern Cross Austereo CEO Rhys Holleran has called Saldanha’s death a tragedy but defended the prank as a standard part of radio culture. He has also insisted the station had not broken any laws. He told Fairfax Radio on Monday that his station had tried at least five times to contact the London hospital to discuss the prank before it aired, but never succeeded.

When asked why the company made the attempts, Holleran replied “because we did want to speak with them about it.” When pressed as to whether this meant the station had reservations about the pre-recorded prank, Holleran said only, “I think that that’s a process that we follow and we have checks and balances on all those things.”

The King Edward VII Hospital denied that its management had been contacted by the radio station.

“Following the hoax call, the radio station did not speak to anyone in the hospital’s senior management or anyone at the company that handles our media inquiries,” the hospital said in a statement.

It also announced a memorial fund to help support the nurse’s family, with the hospital making the first donation.

Saldanha’s children and husband, Ben Barboza, on Monday visited the hospital, which said it was offering assistance to the family.

Barboza expressed his sadness on his Facebook page with a short note “Obituary Jacintha.”

“I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances,” he wrote. He said she will be laid to rest in Shirva, India.

Meanwhile, there were indications that the Duchess of Cambridge still struggled with acute morning sickness over the weekend when her husband, Prince William, cancelled a Sunday night engagement.

Palace officials said no final decision had been made on whether Kate would attend Wednesday’s British premiere of “The Hobbit,” where she and William are to be the guests of honor.

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