AFP: Norway airlifting 1,300 passengers off SOS cruise ship23 March 2019 | 19:04 | FOCUS News Agency
The Viking Sky cruise ship sent an SOS message due to "engine problems in bad weather", southern Norway's rescue centre said on Twitter, while police reported that the passengers would be evacuated by helicopter.
"The boat only has one working engine and the winds are rather strong. Therefore we would prefer to have the passengers on land rather than on board the ship," police chief Tor Andre Franck said.
By 4:30 pm (1430 GMT) 100 people had been evacuated, with four helicopters involved in the airlift.
"It will take time to evacuate everyone," Franck said.
The incident occurred mid-afternoon off the More og Romsdal area of western Norway.
"It is dangerous to encounter engine problems in these waters which hide numerous reefs," Franck added.
Other boats had also been sent to the area and a reception centre set up on shore to accommodate the evacuees.
"The ship has dropped anchor and one of its engines is working. It is currently around two kilometres (1.2 miles) off the coast," said a spokesman for the rescue centre, Einar Knutsen, said.
"For the moment, all is going well," he said.
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