A cruise ship with 1,300 passengers on board has sent out a mayday call after suffering an engine failure in heavy winds near Norway.
Rescue helicopters are now removing people from the ship after it began drifting towards shore when it suffered engine failure amid windy conditions.
The ship named Viking Sky was drifting towards land when it let out the distress signal.
1400: Hustadvika. Cruiseskipet VIKING SKY melder MAYDAY, fremdriftsproblemer i dårlig vær. Driver mot land. HRS har sendt flere helikoptre og fartøy mot stedet. LRS Møre og Romsdal etablerer mottak på land. Pressetlf kan ikke besvares for øyeblikket
— HRS Sør-Norge (@HRSSorNorge) March 23, 2019
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.
However, the crew was later able to restart one engine and the ship is now at anchor about 2km from land while being battered by waves several meters high.
— Athena (@bestpsymusic) March 23, 2019
Passengers were hoisted one by one from the deck of the vessel and airlifted to a village just north of the town of Molde on Norway’s west coast.
About 100 people had been evacuated by 1500 GMT, police said.
A cruise ship has suffered engine failure in windy conditions off the west coast of Norway and will evacuate its 1,300 passengers.
The Viking Sky was drifting towards land and had sent out a mayday signal.
The ship belongs to Viking Ocean Cruises. pic.twitter.com/DtFbvGeV9X
— Emil Nivantha Perera (@emilnivantha) March 23, 2019
Rescue service spokesman Einar Knudsen said: “If we need to evacuate everyone, it will take a long time.”
Several vessels and five helicopters were deployed to help rescue passengers. The wind was blowing at a speed of 38 knots, police told Norwegian newspaper VG.
#Update: Just in – There are right now still over 930 people aboard the ship! Emergency service #VikingSky in #Normway says, they can only take 15 people per flight each, the incident happened 14:00PM Norway time and situation is ongoing. Video Credit: @Air_4U pic.twitter.com/Fb4aNMhJmc
— Sotiri Dimpinoudis ❁ (@sotiridi) March 23, 2019
Police chief Tor Andre Franck said: “It is dangerous to encounter engine problems in these waters which hide numerous reefs … therefore we would prefer to have the passengers on land rather than on board the ship.”
Rescue service spokesman Einar Knudsen told the Reuters news agency that rescuing all passengers “will take a long time.”
— David Hernandez (@oxman78) March 23, 2019
The ship was built in 2017 and belongs to Viking Ocean Cruises, part of the Viking Cruises group founded by Norwegian billionaire Torstein Hagen. According to the company website, its passenger capacity is 930.