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Officials to investigate why Norway cruise ship set sail in storm that put passengers ‘at high risk’

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (March 25, 2019) – Officials have opened an investigation into why a luxury cruise ship carrying more than 1,300 people set sail despite storm warnings, forcing a major evacuation off the coast of Norway.

Hospital officials say one person is in critical condition and eight others are still hospitalized after the Viking Sky cruise ship had engine problems Saturday afternoon and issued a mayday call. Afraid of dashing up on the rocks, it anchored amid heavy seas and high winds. Rescuers worked all night and into Sunday to airlift half of its passengers, 479 people, to shore by five helicopters flying in the pitch dark.

The inclement weather subsided Sunday, allowing the ship to slowly make its way to the Norwegian port of Molde.

Photos and video footage from passengers aboard the ship show the ship’s floor rolling back and forth on an unsteady plane, followed by the crashing of furniture that clattered across the floor and sometimes slammed into passengers. Panels fell from the ceilings on top of passengers.

Most of the passengers were from the United States and Britain and many were senior citizens, NPR reports. 

Investigators were headed to Molde Monday and declined to speculate as to why the Viking Sky captain had decided to sail despite the weather warning.

Viking Ocean Cruises, the company that operates the cruise chip, said the next scheduled trip for the boat that was to leave on Wednesday, has been canceled. It did not anticipate any further cancellations to the ship’s schedule.

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