A luxury cruise ship is safely back in a Norwegian port after 24 hours of engine problems and rough seas forced the evacuation of hundreds of passengers.
The Viking Sky lost engine power and became crippled in rough waters Saturday, forcing it to weigh anchor just 300 feet from jagged rocks to conduct airlift rescue operations in the Norwegian Sea, according to the Associated Press.
Social media posts show the boat destabilized, rocking side to side in 20-30 foot waters as furniture and objects careened into frightened passengers.
Minnesota native Rodney Horgan, 62, told the AP that he watched six feet of water rush onto the ship and thought “‘This is it,’ I grabbed my wife but I couldn’t hold on. And she was thrown across the room. And then she got thrown back again by the wave coming back.” Horgan and his wife were eventually airlifted from the boat.
The ship lost power on Saturday afternoon and sent out a distress call. It drifted for 30 minutes along a notoriously rough stretch of water and was close to striking rocks before the crew decided to weigh anchor, according to the BBC News.
The AP reported that 479 passengers were airlifted throughout the evening, until the Viking Sky’s captain decided noon Sunday that conditions had improved and the ship would try to get back into port.
The boat was able to restart three of its four engines Sunday, and was escorted by two tugboats as it traveled under its own power into the port of Molde, Norway.
The boat is owned by Viking Ocean Cruises, who reported 20 people injured “as a result of this incident, and they are all receiving care at the relevant medical centers in Norway, with some already having been discharged,” according to the Associated Press.
The mostly English-speaking passengers were largely from the U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The cruise journeyed into the Norwegian towns of Narvik, Alta, Tromso and Bodo before it was scheduled to arrive Tuesday into the British port of Tilbury on the River Thames.
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