Cruise Ship Passengers Fall Overboard, Search and Rescue Operation Underway

Two individuals traveling on a Carnival cruise ship are missing after they were thought to have fallen overboard off the coast of Australia.

A search-and-rescue operation is ongoing, with a host of sea and air search teams actively canvassing the area in hopes of finding Paul Rossington, 30, and Kristen Schroder, 27, alive.

The two were traveling on the Carnival Spirit and the crew contacted authorities after a head count revealed the two were not aboard the vessel.

Investigators speculated the two could have gone missing sometime on Wednesday when they were last reported being seen by fellow passengers.

"This is a tragic event at the moment, but we're holding out hope we might be able to find these people alive," New South Wales Marine Police inspector Mark Hutchings said in a press conference.

The NSW Police, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority officers are currently working together to find the passengers who could be anywhere in a 386 square mile area, but the search area could increase in size if the two are not found soon.

The two are thought to have fallen off the vessel from a mid-deck area 65 feet above the water's surface. Investigators added that the deck has 8-foot tall barricade to prevent such accidents.

The ship is described as featuring "areas for outdoor fun, including a corkscrew water slide, four swimming pools, a miniature golf course, jogging track and a sport court."

Crew members have revealed they believe the two fell overboard about 75 miles off the coast of Forster.

"I've said to my staff it's game on and we're pulling out all the stops to try to find them … staff tell me they may be (alive) so we're going to push hard. There's a chance so we're going to keep looking," Hutchings added.