Viking Cruise Ship Reaches Norwegian Port Safely After Mayday Call

Viking Sky cruise ship with helicopters hovering above it in Hustadvika, Norway, on March 23, 2019 (CHC Helicopters via Reuters)

Courtesy of The Epoch Times.

By Jack Phillips

A stricken cruise ship reached the Norwegian port of Molde on March 24 after the ship’s crew issued a mayday call that prompted the rescue of hundreds of passengers over the weekend.

The Viking Sky made it to the port along with tug boats, according to Reuters, after an incident that sent furniture flying as the ship rocked from side to side.

The cruise vessel was carrying 1,373 passengers and crew members when it had engine problems on Norway’s western coast before the crew issued a mayday call on March 23. The area where it stalled was called Hustadvika, which is known for its “shallow waters dotted with reefs,” Reuters said.

Passengers captured the ordeal, posting videos on social media.

Some videos showed water rushing into the vessel.

“It was very nearly a disaster. The ship drifted to within 100 meters of running aground before they were able to restart one of the engines,” Hans Vik, who was in charge of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre for southern Norway, told TV2.

Passengers on the cruise ship were airlifted one-by-one via helicopters, the report said.

Twenty people sustained injuries in the incident, and they were treated at hospitals in Norway or were discharged, said the cruise operator to CNN.

“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.

“All passengers and crew are safe, and passengers will be flying home starting tonight,” the cruise line stated on March 24, adding that it extended thanks to the “Norwegian Redningssentral and the Norwegian emergency services for their support and skill displayed in managing the situation in very challenging weather conditions.”

The cruise line’s next trip, slated for March 27, was canceled, USA Today reported.

The cruise ship Viking Sky as it drifts after sending a mayday signal because of engine failure in windy conditions near Hustadvika, off the west coast of Norway, on March 23, 2019. (Odd Roar Lange/NTB scanpix via AP)

Carolyn Savikas of Pennsylvania was on board the ship as the trouble unfolded, saying she heard a “terrible crash” as the ship rocked back and forth.

“We were in the restaurant when a really huge wave came and shattered a door and flooded the entire restaurant,” she was quoted as saying by USA Today. “All I saw were bones, arms, water, and tables.”

She described the scene as ” just like the pictures you have seen from the Titanic.”

Passengers Frightened

Ship passenger Rodney Horgen can pinpoint the moment when he thought he was facing the end: when a huge wave crashed through the ship’s glass doors and swept his wife 30 feet across the floor, according to The Associated Press.

Horgen, 62, of Minnesota, was visiting Norway on a dream pilgrimage to his ancestral homeland when the luxury cruise trip quickly turned into a nightmare.

“When the windows and door flew open and the 2 meters (6 feet) of water swept people and tables 20 to 30 feet, that was the breaker. I said to myself, ‘This is it,’” Horgen told The Associated Press.

“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 said he’s an experienced fisherman, noting he’s never experienced something like this.

A cruise ship Viking Sky drifts toward land after an engine failure, Hustadvika, Norway, on March 23, 2019. (Frank Einar Vatne/NTB Scanpix/via Reuters)

“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,” he told the news outlet. “That was very, very frightening.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.