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Cruise ship being evacuated off Norway coast

Oslo: Evacuation was underway to rescue about 1,300 passengers and crew from a cruise ship off the coast of Norway that suffered an engine failure, the media reported on Sunday.

The Viking Sky ship sent a distress signal on Saturday evening due to “engine problems in bad weather”, CNN quoted Borghild Eldoen, a spokeswoman for the Joint Rescue Centre for Southern Norway, as saying on Sunday.

The vessel is in rough seas in the Hustadvika area on the western coast of Norway and rescuers were facing waves of about 19-26 feet high, she said.

Helicopters have been airlifting the people one by one since Saturday night and the process could continue through Sunday.

“We can’t say how long it would take,” Eldoen said.

As of Saturday night, about 115 passengers had been rescued and at least eight people had “minor injuries”, Eldoen said.

It was unclear whether any passengers still on the ship have been hurt.

The Viking Sky ship, owned by Viking Ocean Cruises, was built in 2017 and can hold 930 guests, according to the company’s website.

The vessel was on its way to Stavanger from Tromso, according to the website Marine Traffic.

According to public broadcaster NRK, most of the passengers were British and American.

Passenger Alexus Sheppard from California said she has been waiting almost six hours to be evacuated. Most people were fairly calm, she said, and they were being served food and water.

“We were having lunch when (the ship) began to shake,” another passenger, who was evacuated by helicopter, told NRK. “Window panes were broken and water came in. It was just chaos.”