Troubled Norway cruise ship makes it to port
Accompanied by tugboats, the Viking Sky cruise ship limped into the Norwegian port of Molde on Sunday, more than a day after issuing a mayday call in a storm that led to harrowing helicopter rescues of half of its passengers.
The Viking Ocean Cruises company said all passengers and crew of the Viking Sky cruise ship were safe, and passengers would fly home as soon as possible. Some 17 people were hospitalized with injuries, police said.
The Viking Sky carried 1,373 passengers and crew when it had engine trouble Saturday afternoon off the western coast of Norway. Afraid of dashing up on the rocks, it anchored amid heavy seas and high winds and began to evacuate everyone on board.
Amid wind gusts up to 43 mph and waves over 26 feet, five helicopters flying in the pitch dark evacuated passengers from the heaving ship throughout the night into Sunday morning. More than 475 passengers were airlifted one by one off the ship.
As weather eased, a decision was made to halt the rescues and head to Molde, which it reached late Sunday morning.
The cruise ship line said the next scheduled trip for the boat, a visit to Scandinavia and Germany that was to leave on Wednesday, has been canceled. It said it did not anticipate any further cancellations to the ship’s schedule.
The company thanked both Norwegian rescue services and residents for helping the Viking Sky’s passengers and crew under such difficult circumstances.
Rescuers working all night and into Sunday airlifted 479 people to shore before the ship was able to slowly make its way to Molde.