MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota man who was one of the passengers evacuated from a cruise ship off the coast of Norway says the terrifying experience reminded him of “The Poseidon Adventure” and the Titanic.
On Saturday, a cruise ship with engine problems sent a mayday call off Norway’s western coast. The Norwegian newspaper VG said the Viking Sky cruise ship ran into propulsion problems as bad weather hit Norway’s coastal regions.
Approximately 1,300 passengers and crew needed to be evacuated via helicopter amid stormy seas and high winds.
Rodney Horgan, of Minnesota, was among those evacuated from the ship. He detailed the experience both he and his wife had.
“Very scary, very frightening. The best word I suppose is surreal,” Horgan said.
He said that when it began, he and his wife just thought it was some bad water.
“We were up in the restaurant and started tipping side to side really bad, people were falling all over the dishes, all over the place and so they said ‘go down to your rooms’, so we did,” he said.
Soon, he said the ship sounded the alarm, but he still thought it was just a precaution.
“Things are pretty calm, but what really broke things up there was then all of a sudden a big window or door just broke and the seawater just 6-7 feet high come rushing in, hit the table, chairs, broken glasses and 20-30 people just went right in front of me. I was standing, my wife was sitting in front of me, and all of a sudden she was gone. And I thought this was it. At that time. I mean, the water is going to rush in, and this is it,” he said. “Things going through my mind like ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ and the Titanic, a lot of things go through your brain.”
He says that situation calmed down, but people were “cut pretty badly.” They were then rushed to the front of the boat. After that, he says it was just a waiting game.
“Pretty much after that was all prayers. I thank God for all of us to be here. The worst thing I could say, for me, was walking to get in line for the helicopter. Had to walk past a lot of people. And their faces. That was hard, I did not want to go. I pray that everybody else is going to be here,” he said.
Everyone was evacuated. As the seas calmed on Sunday, the ship managed to restart three of its four engines, but tug-boats still towed the Viking Sky back to port.
Hospitals in Norway said nine people from the cruise remained hospitalized on Monday, including one in critical condition. The Red Cross said many others had been left traumatized.