An American couple who had to be rescued from a cruise ship off the coast of Norway recalled the horrible experience of being on the vessel when it was caught in a huge storm on Saturday.
The ship in which Rodney Horgen, 62, and Judy Lemieux, 66, of Deer River, Minnesota, were traveling on was struck by a massive storm and rocked by huge waves and 50-mph winds in an incident that they have likened to “being on the Titanic.” The couple was among several hundreds of passengers who had to be rescued from the Viking Sky, a 12-day luxury cruise that goes along the coast of Norway, according to The Daily Mail.
Horgen said that the winds were so strong that many passengers believed the vessel was going to turn on its side, adding that all sorts of objects were being thrown about, including tables, utensils, and china. Before the cruise ship managed to stabilize and request for a rescue team to evacuate everyone, around 20 people on board were injured.
Many travelers panicked as they feared the ship would sink when it kept being tossed around the Norwegian Sea, with Horgen describing the terrifying moment he tried to grab his wife as she was swept away by water that had started to inundate the seventh-floor restaurant but “just couldn’t.”
Here's what it was like on board the Viking Sky cruise ship after it became disabled in rough waters off the western coast of Norway.
— CBC News (@CBCNews) March 24, 2019
“The swells were hitting us broadside, just leaning the ship back and forth, almost to the point we thought it was going to tip,” he told the Star-Tribune. “People were getting tipped over in their chairs.”
Lemieux also described the shocking moment, saying when a wall of water broke through the window of the restaurant and that its sheer force sent her flying.
“There was a chair coming at me with the legs,’ she recalled, ‘and I thought it was going to take my eyes out. Then Rod grabbed me,” she said.
The pair, who are retired doctors, were lucky enough to be among some of the first to be evacuated by helicopter. They admitted that one of the hardest moment for them was to be airlifted to safety before other passengers.
The Viking Sky Cruise Ship Arrived At Port After Being Stranded At Sea For Nearly 24 Hours https://t.co/nEiULKPnAE
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) March 24, 2019
“Probably one of the hardest things I had to do was walk through this hallway where people were just waiting there, thinking like ‘you are the ones who get to get off’,” Horgen said.
“That was hard for me and my wife. It brought tears to our eyes.”
More than 400 people had to be rescued after the Viking Sky had an engine problem amid the massive storm. It sent a mayday request at about 2 p.m. on Saturday, and search and rescue teams spent hours airlifting elderly passengers one by one from the deck. Other rescue ships and tugboats went to help the vessel, and it eventually arrived safely into port that day.