A cruise ship with 1,300 passengers on board has sent out a mayday call after suffering engine failure in heavy winds near Norway. The ship, named Viking Sky, was drifting towards land when it broadcast the distress signal. Helicopters have been evacuating people from the vessel amid high waves and strong winds.
It was later able to restart one engine, was anchored just over a mile from land and is no longer adrift. A cargo ship which came to help rescue Viking Sky's passengers has also issued a mayday call due to engine failure, it has been reported. Up to 90 passengers have been hoisted up one by one from the deck of the vessel and airlifted to a village located just north of the town of Molde on Norway's west coast. One woman messaged family to let them know she had to be stretchered off the ship after heavy waves battered the ship and left her 'submerged under water'.
The passenger said: 'A wave smashed a door open right behind us and we were submerged under water. 'We thought that was it and my knee has been damaged.
'I've been stretchered off which was just as scary.' Tom Decker, who has been in contact with his wife, tweeted this morning that rescue efforts had been halted 'because of high winds and 30 foot high waves'. A couple, believed to have been on Viking Sky, were pictured earlier 'happy and safe in a hotel room' after they were rescued.
Rough seas have forced two rescue ships to turn back as even tugboats are not sure they will be able to reach the stricken cruise liner. A cargo ship, the Hagland Captain, suffered an engine failure when it headed out to rescue the ship and has sent out a mayday call. Helicopters will also be attempting to rescue its nine crew members, it has been reported.
The stretch, named Hustadvika, is known as one of the most dangerous sections of the Norwegian coast with many shipwrecks in the region.
A spokesperson said: 'If we need to evacuate everyone, it will take a long time.' The ship, built in 2017, belongs to Viking Ocean Cruises founded by Norwegian billionaire Torstein Hagen. According to the company website, its passenger capacity is 930. Several boats and four helicopters took part in the rescue and facilities to receive passengers have been set up on land.
But only 10 to 15 people can be taken per flight on emergency helicopters sent to airlift passengers to safety. It is thought there are currently still more than 885 passengers on board.
Wind was blowing at a speed of 38 knots, police told Norwegian newspaper VG. All search and rescue teams in the region are mobilising, including 60 volunteers from the Norwegian Red Cross, a spokesman said.
Viking's operational headquarters, located in Basel, Switzerland, did not respond when contacted by telephone.
By EMER SCULLY and LUKE ANDREWS and JACK NEWMAN FOR MAILONLINE
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
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