Amid ongoing rescue efforts for passengers and crew stranded on a cruise ship, Norwegian rescuers have reported that a second ship has reported engine failure and requires evacuation from their vessel.
The second boat is a cargo vessel with nine people on board, the Associated Press reports. The crew is stranded in the same Hustadsvika Bay region where 1,300 people have been stranded on the Viking Sky cruise ship.
According to Norway’s public broadcasting outlet NRK, the Norweigan rescue service rerouted two of the five helicopters working to rescue passengers to assist with evacuating the cargo ship crew.
VG, a Norway newspaper, reported on Saturday night that approximately 100 people had been rescued from the ship by 6 p.m. local time. It is currently unknown how many people have been removed from the cargo ship. Passengers were being taken to a sports hall in a village north of the town of Molde, The Guardian reported.
The cruise ship Viking Sky is pictured on March 23, 2019 near the west coast of Norway at Hustadvika near Romsdal. – Emergency services said on March 23, 2019 they were airlifting 1,300 passengers off a cruise ship off the Norwegian coast. The Viking Sky cruise ship sent an SOS message due to ‘engine problems in bad weather’, southern Norway’s rescue centre said on Twitter, while police reported the passengers would be evacuated by helicopter. FRANK EINAR VATNE/AFP/Getty Images
Eight individuals were reported to have sustained minor injuries from the cruise ship, while a 90-year-old man and his spouse had been severely injured, the AP reported. The ship’s passengers are reportedly mostly American and British tourists.
Posts from social media showed passengers struggling to stay upright as the ship tilted amid wind gusts of up to 43 mph and waves up to 26 feet high. A video from California activist Alexus Sheppard captured a piece of roofing falling on to passengers as they awaited helicopter rescue.
Another video, shared by passenger David Hernandez, captured water running underneath his feet as he waited for evacuation.
Hernandez also praised the Viking Sky crew in a separate tweet, capturing a photo of a muster station damaged in the storm and others of fellow passengers and crew wearing orange life vests.
According to NRK, the evacuation process is expected to last through the night on Saturday and into Sunday morning. Due to the rough seas, lifeboats and other vessels are unable to reach the ship, leaving helicopters to airlift individuals from the ship’s deck one by one.
A witness to the evacuations told NRK the rescues are a “demanding exercise.”
“Because they (passengers) have to hang in the air under a helicopter and there’s a very, very strong wind,” Odd Roar Lange said.
Evacuated passenger Janet Jacob described the wind as being “like a tornado” and that she prayed for the safety of all aboard.”
“I was afraid. I’ve never experienced anything so scary,” Jacob said according to the Associated Press.
Another passenger, John Curry, told NRK, “It was just chaos. The helicopter ride from the ship to shore I would rather not think about. It wasn’t nice.”
Norweigan media reported that Viking Sky issued a mayday call on Saturday afternoon. The ship experienced motor problems due to the storm and was forced to anchor about two miles off Norway’s western coast. The mayday call came as the ship began to drift toward the coast.
The Viking Sky is owned by Viking Ocean Cruises. The ship took its maiden voyage in 2017.
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