Latest: Passengers tell of ‘frightening’ evacuation from cruise ship off Norway’s coast

Latest: A couple has described the “frightening” experience of being airlifted off a cruise ship which got into difficulties off the coast of Norway amid stormy seas.

1,300 passengers and crew were on board the Viking Sky ship which sent a mayday call after losing engine power, prompting the start of an evacuation in high winds.

Local police in Moere og Romsdal said the ship’s crew had managed to anchor in Hustadvika Bay, amid fears the vessel would run aground.

The ship’s operator Viking Cruises said a small number of non life-threatening injuries had been reported.

Footage online appeared to show the ship rocking dramatically, with debris falling from the ceiling and furniture including chairs sliding across the floor as passengers sat waiting to be rescued.

Derek and Esther Browne, from England, 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.”

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Passengers are helped from a helicopter in Hustadvika after reaching shore (Odd Roar Lange/NTB Scanpix via AP)</figcaption>
Passengers are helped from a helicopter in Hustadvika after reaching shore (Odd Roar Lange/NTB Scanpix via AP)

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

By 6pm local time in Norway around 100 people had been rescued from the ship.

The ship was due to arrive in Essex on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for Viking Cruises said: “The ship is proceeding on its own power and a tugboat is on site. The evacuation is proceeding with all necessary caution.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>The cruise ship Viking Sky after it sent out a mayday signal (Odd Roar Lange / NTB scanpix via AP)</figcaption>
The cruise ship Viking Sky after it sent out a mayday signal (Odd Roar Lange / NTB scanpix via AP)

“A small number of non-life threatening injuries have been reported. Guests are being accommodated in local hotels when they arrive back on shore, and Viking will arrange for return flights for all guests.”

The operator advised anyone with concerns about guests who were onboard to visit www.vikingcruises.com/.

- Press Association

Evacuation begins as cruise ship carrying 1,300 sends mayday call off Norway

Update 6.30pm: A cruise ship with engine problems that sent a mayday call from the west coast of Norway has begun to evacuate its 1,300 passengers and crew.

Norwegian newspaper VG said the Viking Sky cruise ship ran into propulsion problems as strong winds and heavy seas hit Norway's coastal regions on Saturday.

Norwegian officials say rescue workers have managed to evacuate about 100 people so far.

Police in the county of Moere og Romsdal said the ship has managed to moor in Hustadsvika Bay, between the western Norwegian cities of Alesund and Trondheim.

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

The Viking Sky was delivered in 2017 to operator Viking Ocean Cruises.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Helicopters are being used to evacuate passengers (Frank Einar Vatne/NTB scanpix via AP)</figcaption>
Helicopters are being used to evacuate passengers (Frank Einar Vatne/NTB scanpix via AP)

Cruise ship carrying 1,300 sends mayday call off Norway coast

Earlier: A cruise ship with engine problems has sent a mayday call from the west coast of Norway and is making plans to evacuate its 1,300 passengers and crew.

Norwegian newspaper VG said the Viking Sky cruise ship ran into propulsion problems as strong winds and heavy seas hit Norway’s coastal regions on Saturday.

Police in the county of Moere og Romsdal said the ship has managed to moor in Hustadsvika Bay, between the western Norwegian cities of Alesund and Trondheim.

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

The Viking Sky was delivered in 2017 to operator Viking Ocean Cruises.

- Press Association

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