Cruise ship carrying 1,300 passengers forced to evacuate off Norway

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A cruise ship Viking Sky drifts towards land after an engine failure, Hustadvika, Norway March 23, 2019 (Photo: Frank Einar Vatne/ NTB/ SCANPIX/ VIA Reuters.

HUSTADVIKA BAY, NORWAY (CBS)— A cruise ship with engine problems sent a mayday call off Norway’s western coast on Saturday, then began evacuating its 1,300 passengers and crew amid stormy seas and high winds in a high-risk helicopter rescue operation. The Norwegian newspaper VG said the Viking Sky cruise ship ran into propulsion problems as bad weather hit Norway’s coastal regions on Saturday.

Police in the western county of Moere og Romsdal said the ship managed to anchor in Hustadvika Bay, between the western Norwegian cities of Alesund and Trondheim, so the evacuations could take place.

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Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances.

Norwegian authorities said they were forced to divert two of five helicopters rescuing the crew and passengers to help another ship that experienced a seizure in the storm. They were diverted to assist the nine person crew of the Hagland Captain cargo vessel. Both boats are trying to avoid being dashed on the rocky coast.

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