As we approach the summer high season for cruise ship getaways, it’s a bit discouraging to hear a harrowing account of an ocean rescue. Thank goodness there were no casualties and little injury resulting from a terrifying 20 hours at sea.
479 people were airlifted via helicopter from a cruise ship, the Viking Sky, off the coast of western Norway after the vessel lost power and encountered dangerously strong winds and stormy seas starting early Saturday morning. It was reported that 1,300 passengers were on board and were forced to endure 20 hours of strong winds and wild waves while stranded at sea.
“Furniture would slide across the room, slide back and with it came people and glass. It was a very dangerous situation frankly,” said American passenger Jan Terbruegen.
Sunday morning, the ship regained engine power and sailed to Molde harbor, Norway with 436 guests and 458 crew remaining on board.
“Throughout all of this, our first priority was for the safety and well-being of our passengers and our crew,” Viking Ocean Cruises said in a statement.
Twenty passengers sustained minor injuries including bruising, broken bones and cuts. The Norwegian Red Cross, volunteers, and a consular team sent by the U.S. Embassy in Oslo were responsible for providing rescue and treatment services.
Passengers recalled the harrowing day at sea, of which they are still recovering from physically and emotionally.
“It’s still rocking and rolling here,” said passenger Alexus Sheppard from Southern California.
Although many people feared for their safety and their lives, Sheppard recalled that most passengers were fairly calm and everyone was given water and food while they waited for relief to arrive.
Viking Ocean Cruises has canceled its next sailing which was scheduled for this week while passengers continue to seek care and are being processed at the Brynhallen indoor sports stadium and hotels in Molde and Kristiansund, where evacuee centers have been established.