Norway cruise ship towed to port following passenger airlifts

World Today

Norway cruise ship towed to port following passenger airlifts

A nightmare at sea is over for passengers aboard a luxury cruise ship off the coast of Norway. “The Viking Sky’s” engines failed as it hit a storm.

The harrowing rescue operation has ended after the weather improved, allowing tugboats to tow the ship to port.

CGTN’s Toby Muse reports.

The Viking Sky trundled safely into harbor, but tranquil, almost picturesque scene belied the plight of more than 1,300 people just hours earlier.

The Norwegian cruise ship, operated by Viking Ocean Cruises, had lost power in rough waters on Saturday. With its engines failing, the vessel lurched and listed– its passengers and crew, helpless.

“We were just in the room and things just started violently flying across the room, the furniture was sliding here and crashing into the wall and everything was falling around and we were being thrown around,” said Ruth McIntyre, a passenger aboard the ship. “It became very evident then that there was something dramatically wrong.”

The ship issued a distress signal, triggering a dramatic rescue as helicopters battled fierce winds round the clock to reach those on board.

All in all, more than 400 people were airlifted, off one at a time, as the weather continued to churn.

“I was a bit alarmed, saying ‘Help, what’s going to happen to the boat What’s going to happen to all our possessions What if we were suddenly to go off, is the boat liable to capsize, sink or what ‘ We didn’t know, so we were quite frightened,” said Derek Brown, another passenger.

The cruise liner had encountered problems in a notoriously treacherous stretch of the Norwegian Sea. Viking said it did everything possible to ensure the safety of those involved throughout the ordeal. Passengers have been full of praise for the crew – grateful that everyone made it out alive.