The wave struck a Viking Polaris cruise ship sailing near South America, the company said
By Louis Casiano
An American woman died and four other passengers were injured when a “rogue wave” hit a Viking cruise ship sailing near the southernmost tip of South America on an Antarctic cruise, the company said Thursday.
The unidentified 62-year-old woman was hit by broken glass when the wave broke cabin windows on the Viking Polaris ship late Tuesday during a storm, Argentine authorities said. The ship suffered limited damage and arrived in Ushuaia, 1,926 miles south of Buenos Aires, the next day.
“It is with great sadness that we confirmed a guest passed away following the incident,” Viking said in a statement. “We have notified the guest’s family and shared our deepest sympathies.”
According to the company, a doctor and medical personnel treated the four injured passengers onboard the ship for non-life-threatening wounds.
According to Viking, there was “limited damage” to the ship itself.
The company stated, “We are looking into the circumstances surrounding this incident and will lend our support to the appropriate authorities. “Our priority continues to be the safety and wellbeing of our guests and crew, and we are coordinating direct return travel with them.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that rogue waves, also referred to as “extreme storm waves” by scientists, are more than twice as large as nearby waves and frequently originate from unexpected directions that are not those of the prevailing wind and waves.
Suzie Gooding, who was aboard the ship at the time of the incident, told Raleigh, North Carolina’s WRAL-TV that it felt as though the ship had run into an iceberg.
“Prior to the sudden and unexpected arrival of the rogue wave, everything was fine. Shocking, “She spoke. “We weren’t sure if we should prepare our gear for ship abandonment.”
Viking said it has canceled the ship’s next scheduled departure, the Antarctic Explorer, slated to sail from Dec. 5-17. The Viking Polaris, a vessel that has luxury facilities and was built in 2022, has a capacity for 378 passengers and 256 crew members.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.