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Cruise ship reaches port after losing power, evacuating passengers

Mar 24, 2019 09:54 AM

Helicopters responded to Viking Sky off Norway after a mayday from the vessel in heavy seas

Nearly 1,400 passengers and crewmembers on board Viking Sky were being evacuated on Saturday after the ship lost engine power.

Courtesy The New York Times

Nearly 1,400 passengers and crewmembers on board Viking Sky were being evacuated on Saturday after the ship lost engine power.

(MOLDE, Norway) —  A cruise ship with nearly 1,400 passengers and crewmembers reached port Sunday after losing engine power a day earlier in heavy winds and 25-foot seas, prompting an hours-long helicopter evacuation, The New York Times reported.

The evacuation of the ship, Viking Sky, began around 2 p.m. local time and stretched through the darkness into the early morning Sunday. More than 890 people — 436 passengers and 458 crewmembers — were left on the 47,800-ton ship as it struggled back to Molde, a coastal town in western Norway, after some of the engines were restarted. On Sunday at about 4:30 p.m. local time, after some six hours of traveling at sea with one tugboat in front and another in the rear, the vessel docked.

When helicopters reached the ship, rescue personnel were lowered to remove passengers by winch one at a time, in wind speeds of more than 45 mph. Filled with 10 to 15 people, the helicopters then returned to land. Hundreds of other people wearing life jackets waited on board in a scene captured by photos and videos shared on Twitter.

The images showed Viking Sky listing. Water could be seen rushing onto the ship and furniture sliding from one side to another.

“The people on board the ship are safe, though it’s not a pleasant cruise for them any longer,” said Per Fjeld, a spokesman for the rescue center. “Those who are on the ship, there’s no real hurry. They are not in any danger or anything like that.”

The crew on the ship, which was traveling from Tromso to Stavanger in Norway, sounded a mayday around 2 p.m. local time near the city of Molde. Fjeld said that at that time, only one of the ship’s four engines was working.

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