Storm and engine failure causes chaos on Norway cruise


A video recorded by an eyewitness shows furniture rolling around from side to side, and parts of a ceiling falling down during a storm which hit a luxury cruise ship off Norway's west coast.

Rescue helicopters evacuated dozens of people from the ship, which also suffered engine failure on Saturday, police and rescue workers said.

The maritime rescue service said the Viking Sky, with about 1,300 passengers and crew on board, had sent out a mayday signal as it had been drifting towards land.

"It was very nearly a disaster. The ship drifted to within 100 metres of running aground before they were able to restart one of the engines," police chief Hans Vik, who heads the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre for southern Norway, told TV2.

"If they had run aground we would have faced a major disaster."

Built in 2017, the Viking Sky is 227 metres long (745 feet) and 29 metres wide, the Viking Ocean Cruises website said.

Founder and chairman of Viking Cruises, Norwegian billionaire Torstein Hagen, met some of those who had been airlifted.

"They've had a bit of a shocking experience," Hagen told TV2 and other media after meeting passengers who had been winched from the deck in the storm.

"Most of our passengers are senior citizens...imagine what it's like to hang there on that wire. It must be a terrible experience but they seem to have handled it very well," Hagen said.