Monster wave hits cruise ship, killing ‘US passenger’ and injuring four others: Antarctic liner suffers smashed windows as it sails towards Argentina
- The Viking Polaris cruise ship was sailing towards Ushuaia when it was hit
- The Argentinian city is the main starting point for expeditions to Antarctica
- Four tourists ‘sustained non-life-threatening injuries’ and one US passenger died
A US passenger has died and four others were injured when a massive wave smashed into an Antarctic cruise ship during a storm as it sailed towards Argentina.
The Viking Polaris cruise ship was sailing Wednesday towards Ushuaia in Argentina — the main starting point for expeditions to Antarctica — when there was ‘a rogue wave incident,’ a representative of the Viking cruise company said in a statement.
A couple from North Carolina, who were passengers onboard the Viking Polaris, told WRAL News: ‘It was just sudden, shocking, we didn’t know if we could get our gear ready for abandoning ship.’
The couple initially wondered if we had hit an iceberg, but the rouge wave had been whipped up by an arctic storm.
One person has died and four were injured when a massive wave smashed into Viking Polaris ship during a storm as it sailed off the southernmost tip of South America
Broken windows are shown on the cruise ship after the rogue wave crashed into it, with a storm brining rough Antarctic waters
The ship suffered minor damage and was anchored off Ushuaia, nearly 2,000 miles from the capital Buenos Aires, with several windows smashed on the side.
One of the giant waves hit the Viking Polaris sideways with full force, damaging the front backboard area of Deck 2
Glass panes were broken as the wave crashed into window panes of passenger cabin.
There was no danger that the ship would capsize, according to local media. It was able to continue its journey to Ushuaia.
The Viking Polaris cruise ship was sailing Wednesday towards Ushuaia in Argentina — the main starting point for expeditions to Antarctica
‘It is with great sadness that we confirmed a guest passed away following the incident. We have notified the guest’s family and shared our deepest sympathies,’ said the statement.
Four other tourists ‘sustained non-life-threatening injuries’ and were treated onboard.
Viking Cruises, one of the largest cruise lines in the world, said it was ‘investigating the facts surrounding this incident’.
The Viking Polaris was launched in 2022 and is the newest ship in the company’s fleet.
The young cruise ship, designed for 378 guests, is only two months old and was handed over from the VARD shipyard to the owner Viking Cruises in September.
From Amsterdam the ship went to Argentina, where the ship has since been used for Antarctic cruises to and from Ushuaia.
The young cruise ship, designed for 378 guests, is only two months old and was handed over from the VARD shipyard to the owner Viking Cruises in September
It is not known how long the repairs will take and whether it will continue to carry out cruises.
Scientists often refer to rogue waves as extreme storm waves that surge out of nowhere, often in an unpredictable direction, and can look like a steep wall of water, up to twice the size of surrounding waves.
These rare killer waves were once seen as a myth reported by mariners or explorers. The polar explorer Ernest Shackleton wrote in his book of a ‘gigantic’ freak wave he encountered in Antarctica in 1916.
However, scientists have learned more about them in recent decades, studying how they emerge and how to predict the wall of water that can surge up even in calm seas.
The incident comes two weeks after two tourists drowned on another Antarctic cruise. The two men, aged 76 and 80, had left the World Explorer ship for an excursion on an inflatable Zodiac boat which overturned near the shore.
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