Rescue helicopters were battling severe winds on Saturday to airlift more than 1,300 people off a Viking Cruises’ ship that issued a distressed call after an engine failure off the coast of Norway.
Of the 1,300 stranded, 915 were passengers on the Viking Cruises’ ship called The Viking Sky, Norway’s Rescue Coordination Centre said. The ship can house 930 guests and was built in 2017, according to the company’s website.
The initial mayday was received by the agency at 2 p.m. local time, a Viking spokesman said.
Currently, the cruise ship is close to shore and has one engine working and one anchor holding. Rescuers hope to get two other engines working.
“Our first priority was for the safety and well-being of our passengers and our crew, and in close cooperation with the Norwegian Coast Guard, the captain decided to evacuate all guests from the vessel by helicopter,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Four helicopters were involved in the operations, and at least 87 people have been hoisted off, including eight with injuries, the agency said.
“Very frightening. We went up on a helicopter with a sling, the two of us together and it was quite scary,” Danny Bates told Eurovision.
His companion, Judith Bates said, “I felt surely, they have everything under control, it’s all going to be OK. So we just take this as an unexpected adventure.”
A tugboat is en route to further secure The Viking Sky, but the weather conditions remained harsh. The rescue operation was expected to continue through the night.
“We are in the process of updating the website with the latest information and activating special telephone numbers for passengers and their relatives,” the spokesman said.
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