Footage shows Norwegian rescue services airlift Viking Sky passengers to safety

Footage released by Norwegian rescue services captured the moment passengers from the stranded cruise ship Viking Sky were hauled to safety on Sunday, as would-be holidaymakers begin returning home to their families.

The video, released by the Southern Norway Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC), shows a rescuer rappelling onto the deck of the stranded cruise ship from a helicopter before helping some of the 1,300 individuals who had been stranded on the cruise ship in dangerous weather since its engines failed on Saturday.

Set against a picturesque backdrop of the Norwegian fjords, crew members aboard the ship can be seen catching the rescuer’s rope to help with the descent as strong gusts threaten to put the rescue in danger.

After landing safely aboard in the violent winds, the rescuer secures a middle-aged man in a life jacket to the rope before he is then whisked into the air and hauled into the hovering aircraft.

A second individual is also pictured being lofted to safety, shooting up the rope and into the sky as their hat blows off and away into the distance.

Passengers rescued from the Viking Sky cruise ship are helped from a helicopter
Passengers rescued from the Viking Sky cruise ship are helped from a helicopter (Odd Roar Lange/NTB Scanpix via AP)

Some 479 passengers were airlifted from the vessel before it safely reached the port of Molde on Sunday evening.

Viking Cruises said 20 people suffered injuries and were receiving treatment in Norway, with some already discharged.

A statement from the operator thanked the local emergency services “for their support and skill displayed in managing the situation in very challenging weather conditions”.

Passengers waiting to be evacuated
Rescue workers off Norway’s western coast rushed to evacuate 1,300 passengers and crew (Alexus Sheppard/AP)

Around 200 Britons were on board the Viking Sky ship which sent a mayday call after losing engine power, prompting the start of an operation to airlift 1,300 passengers and crew from the vessel in high winds.

Derek and Esther Browne, from Hampshire, said the “whole boat was swaying, it was very rough” before they were airlifted to safety.

Mr Browne told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Stephen Nolan: “We had a few people on stretchers, several with cuts, two with broken limbs, but fortunately we were alright. We were airlifted onto the helicopter which was quite a frightening experience.”

He added: “I’d never been in a helicopter before, there were a lot of high winds, hovering overhead and the winchman came down and we were then collected up and so I shut my eyes as we arrived into the helicopter and there were 15 of us for about a 20-minute ride.”

The ship was due to arrive in Tilbury in Essex on Tuesday.

Viking Cruises advised anyone with concerns about guests who were onboard to visit  www.vikingcruises.com/oceans/my-trip/current-sailings/index.html.

The 745ft Viking Sky was built in 2017 and is described on the official website as a “comfortable, award-winning ship, intimate and thoughtfully created by experienced nautical architects and designers to enrich your interaction with your destination in every way”.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “We are in touch with Norwegian authorities and stand ready to help any British people who require our assistance.”

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