A Norwegian cruise ship had to be rescued from rough waters after becoming stranded in a violent storm off the western coast of Norway, authorities say. More than 475 passengers were taken off the Viking Sk as it was battered by wind gusts up to 43 mph and waves of up to 26 feet high while anchored in Hustadsvika Bay, The Associated Press reports. The ship was then towed to Molde through the rough waters with nearly 900 people still on board, Viking Ocean Cruises said.
Carolyn Savikas, of Pennsylvania, told the Norwegian newspaper VG that there was a “terrible crash,” and water raced into the ship as things crashed around. “We were in the restaurant when a really huge wave came and shattered a door and flooded the entire restaurant. All I saw were bones, arms, water and tables. It was like the Titanic – just like the pictures you have seen from the Titanic,” Savikas told the newspaper.
The ship had to call mayday amid engine troubles. Police said 16 people were injured during the ordeal, according to Sky News. Those with injuries, the elderly and others who were the most vulnerable were removed from the ship by helicopter.
Videos Showed Furniture Flying as Passengers Waited to Be Rescued
Shocking videos showed the scene as furniture went flying and the ship rocked in the rough water:
Videos posted by the Norwegian rescue agency showed the dramatic moments as helicopters arrived at the ship:
Another video posted to Twitter showed water rushing through the ship:
And a video from the shore showed the struggling ship:
Photos showed some of the damage:
Alexus Sheppard, an author from California, said the passengers who remained on the ship as it was towed to the port were left “sleeping everywhere” while the tug boat did its work.
Sheppard told The Associated Press, “It was frightening at first. And when the general alarm sounded it became VERY real.”
Passengers Said Those on the Ship Were ‘Frightened,’ but Calm
“We saw two people taken off by stretcher. People were alarmed. Many were frightened but they were calm,” passenger Dereck Brown told Romsdal Budstikke, a Norwegian newspaper.
Rodney Horgen, of Minnesota, told The Associated Press he was on the ship with his wife for a dream trip his ancestral homeland. Horgen said a huge wave crashed through glass doors and swept his wife 30 feet across the floor. “When the windows and door flew open and the 2 meters of water swept people and tables 20 to 30 feet, that was the breaker. I said to myself, ‘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,” Horgen told the AP. “I did not have a lot of hope. I knew how cold that water was and where we were and the waves and everything. You would not last very long. That was very, very frightening.”
According to officials, the ship was on a tour of several cities, including Narvik, Alta, Tromso, Bodo and Stavanger and was due to arrive Tuesday in the British port of Tilbury on the River Thames. The tourists on board were from several countries, including the United States, Canada, Britain, New Zealand and Australia, according to The Associated Press.
Viking Cruises chairman Torstein Hagen told VG the events were, “some of the worst I have been involved in, but now it looks like it’s going well in the end and that we’ve been lucky. I’m very proud of our crew.”