Rescue crews have been working to stabilize a cruise ship in Norway after a below-deck fire that left two cruise ship workers dead and resulted in the successful evacuation of more than 200 people.
A Dutch team has managed to get three pumps into the vessel to try to right it, but Police Chief Jon Steven Hasseldal said the MS Nordlys is tilting at 21.7 degrees, over the mark of 20 degrees that is considered “critical.” Of the rescue efforts so far, Hasseldal said:
“At the moment it looks promising. It’s still a serious situation … but now there is a bit more stability in the ship.”
Around 260 people in total were evacuated from the MS Nordlys Thursday morning after an engine room fire. Reports specify that two of the crew were “found dead” after the fire, and that another nine were hospitalized with injuries including burns and smoke inhalation. Two of the injured are said to be critically hurt. The ship was slated to dock in Aalesund, 230 miles northwest of Norwegian capital Oslo.
Evacuation of the vessel went well, passengers report, and one told press:
“It was a well-organized evacuation… The crew did a really good job. Everything was calm and went smoothly. There was no panic.”
Hurtigruten, the cruise ship company that owns the endangered ship, says that it is working hard to secure emergency passports and other necessities for people who had to leave essential belongings behind in haste to depart the damaged vessel. Parts of Aalesund were evacuated ahead of the ship’s arrival, as it came into port billowing black smoke and listing.
Police say nothing about the fire “indicates sabotage or points to terror.”