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Norway cruise ship arrives at port after passenger airlifts

Media captionFootage from on board showed furniture crashing and sliding as the vessel tilted

A cruise ship that got into trouble off the Norwegian coast has arrived at the port of Molde in Norway after the dramatic rescue of hundreds of people.

The Viking Sky lost power on Saturday and sent out a distress signal after it began drifting towards land.

Rescuers airlifted almost 500 of the 1,373 people on board from the ship in bad weather.

Footage from inside the vessel show it heaving violently in rough seas, with furniture sliding across the floor.

The Viking Sky’s engines were later restarted and evacuations were halted as it then made its way to Molde, accompanied by several tug boats.

Rescuers said they were ready to resume operations if the captain deemed it necessary.

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EPA

Image caption

The Viking sky arriving at Molde port in Norway on Sunday

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

The vessel was able to dock safely, with ambulance staff on hand to help with any injuries

How did the drama unfold?

The Viking Sky suffered engine failure on Saturday afternoon while en route to Stavanger from Tromso in a notoriously treacherous stretch of waters.

Fisherman Jan Erik Fiskerstrand, whose boat was one of the first to come to help Viking Sky, told Aftenposten newspaper, “it was just minutes before this could have gone really wrong”.

The ship could have hit the rocks “if they had not started the engine and fastened the anchor” he added.

Five helicopters and several rescue ships were called in but poor weather meant the lifeboats were forced to turn back.

The authorities decided to launch airlifts rather than leave people on board and hundreds were hoisted to safety.

Among those rescued, 20 people suffered injuries. Most of the passengers are said to be British or US citizens, many of them elderly.

The cruise’s operator said 436 guests and 458 crew remained on board.

What was it like on board?

Derek Browne, from southern England, who was travelling with his wife Esther told the BBC the ship had been “rolling and rolling” all night on Friday before losing engine power on Saturday.

He said being airlifted to safety was “quite a frightening experience”.

George Davis, from Manchester, said he and his wife Barbara waited 10 hours to be rescued.

“It was a very scary event”, he said, adding: “Locals tell us they were amazed that we sailed into the teeth of a storm they knew was coming”.

Media captionBritish passenger Derek Browne: ‘We were told Mayday Mayday!’

In footage from the ship, passengers wearing life jackets are seen waiting to be rescued.

The former South African cricketer Graeme Smith said his parents had been among those airlifted to safety.

One of those still on board, Lara from Birmingham in the UK, said “the crew were magnificent and have kept the remaining passengers safe, warm and fed”.

The Viking Sky is a Viking Ocean Cruises ship, which had its maiden voyage in 2017.

The company said “throughout all of this, our first priority was for the safety and wellbeing of our passengers and our crew”.


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Norway cruise ship arrives at port after passenger airlifts

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