8 hurt as passengers airlifted from stranded cruise ship

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Eight people have been injured after a cruise ship’s engines failed in stormy conditions off the west coast of Norway.

The Viking Sky, carrying about 1,300 passengers and crew, sent a mayday signal as it drifted towards land.

Video posted on social media showed furniture sliding around inside the ship and debris falling from the ceiling as it listed heavily to one side.

Those on board are being hoisted one-by-one from the deck and taken by rescue helicopter to a village just north of the town of Molde.

It is slow work, and is expected to continue through the night.

The waves are 6-8m (20-26ft) high, and the wind is blowing at 24m per second, the Norwegian Meteorological Institute said.

“It’s a demanding exercise, because they (the passengers) have to hang in the air under a helicopter and there’s a very, very strong wind,” witness Odd Roar Lange told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.

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The storm is expected to last until at least midnight local time (11pm UK time).

A freighter with a crew of nine was also being evacuated nearby after suffering engine failure too.

The Viking Sky is anchored about 1.5 miles from land after the crew managed to restart one engine.

“We were having lunch when it began to shake,” American passenger John Curry told NRK.

“Window panes were broken and water came in. It was just chaos.

“The trip on the helicopter I would rather forget. It was not fun.”

8 hurt as passengers airlifted from stranded cruise ship
Two rescue helicopters assist Viking Sky

The cruisemapper.com website said the Viking Sky was on a 12-day trip that began on 14 March in the western Norwegian city of Bergen.

Built in 2017, it 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.