The two 2Day FM radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian have spoken of being “shattered, gutted, heartbroken” about the death of a nurse they spoke to during a prank phone call last week.
When asked in an interview with Australian current affairs show Today Tonight about their actions, Christian revealed what happened before the call was broadcast.
The Age reports that Christian said it was “a tragic set of circumstances.”
“We’re still trying to get our heads around everything. Trying to make sense of the situation,” he said.
In an interview with A Current Affair, another Australian show, which will be aired tonight, host Tracey Grimshaw asks who came up with the idea for the prank call.
“It was just the team sitting down before the show, just had the idea for just a simple harmless phone call,” Christian said.
“… when we thought about making a call, it was going to go for 30 seconds. We were going to be hung up on, and that was it.”
Greig added: “We thought a hundred people before us would’ve tried it. We thought it was such a silly idea and the accents were terrible and not for a second did we expect to speak to Kate, let alone have a conversation with anyone at the hospital. We wanted to be hung up on.”
Asked how they reacted when told of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who put through their prank call to the nurse on duty on the Duchess of Cambridge’s ward, both DJs broke down in tears.
Greig said it was “gut wrenching”, the worst phone call of her life.
Christian agreed, saying: “Shattered, gutted, heartbroken and obviously you know… our deepest sympathies are with the family and the friends”.
Later in the interview, Christian was adamant the effect of the prank call could not have been foreseen.
“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,” Christian said.
The pair, who have been facing global condemnation after the death of Mrs Saldanha, broke their silence in a pair of interviews with Grimshaw and Seven’s Clare Brady from Today Tonight.
“They’re at a certain point on the food chain,” Grimshaw said. “There are other people who made the decision to put it to air, it wasn’t live to air, there was a decision made after that prank call was recorded to put it to air, and virtually all the focus has been on them.”
“So I have some sympathy for them in that regard.
“What has happened with this poor nurse in England is not going to be helped by bullying these two people into some sort of breakdown. I was very mindful that anyone in their situation would be fragile, and very mindful of not becoming part of the problem.”
Greig and Christian’s programme has been suspended and advertising on the station has been suspended until Wednesday.
The station has not yet said when, or if, the presenters will return to the airwaves.