Cruise ship issues mayday as it's forced to evacuate 1,300 passengers

Cruise ship issues mayday as it's forced to evacuate 1,300 passengers

Cruise ship issues mayday as it's forced to evacuate 1,300 passengers

The Viking Cruise ship Viking Sky issued a mayday call on Saturday after it ran into propulsion problems amid bad weather and treacherous seas.

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats have been sent to help and evacuate the vessel, a process expected to take several hours.

This photo provided by Michal Stewart shows passengers on board the Viking Sky, waiting to be evacuated, off the coast of Norway on Saturday, March 23, 2019.

The rescue workers managed to take a little more than half of the passengers off the cruise ship, but some 900 passengers and crew were still on it when its captain made the decision Sunday just before noon to halt the evacuation.

Norwegian media said the majority of the cruise ship passengers were British and American tourists.

Three of the ship's four engines have been restarted and it is now being guided towards the nearest port in Molde with the assistance of tug boats. Most of those travelling are said to be British or USA citizens. "Therefore we would prefer to have the passengers on land rather than on board the ship".

Roof panels fall from the ceiling and glasses shatter in the background as terrified passengers await rescuing.

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One of those still on board, Lara from Birmingham in the United Kingdom, said "the crew were magnificent and have kept the remaining passengers safe, warm and fed".

The Viking Sky sent out a mayday signal on Saturday as it drifted in rough, shallow waters in the Norwegian Sea to within 100 metres from rocks.

Viking Ocean Cruises said Monday it had begun "an internal investigation.to establish a complete and thorough understanding of what happened", and welcome the official investigations which they "will fully support".

Another vessel had been despatched to try to tow the Viking Sky into port, possibly removing the need for the airlift.

Mr Liseth said investigators were heading to Molde on Monday and declined to speculate as to why the Viking Sky captain had chose to sail despite the weather warning.

Passengers on a cruise off the coast of Norway are being evacuated by helicopter.

The Viking Sky, operated by Viking Ocean Cruises, was experiencing engine problems, the Norwegian newspaper VG reports.

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