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People Are Being Airlifted By Helicopter Off A Cruise Ship That Lost Engine Power Off Norway

The ship started drifting toward land after it lost power to its engines off the Norwegian coast.

Last updated on March 23, 2019, at 5:37 p.m. ET

Posted on March 23, 2019, at 12:33 p.m. ET

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Passengers were being hoisted one by one by helicopters from a stranded cruise ship on Saturday after strong winds started pushing the ship toward the Norwegian coast, local law officials said.

The Viking Sky ship issued a mayday call off the western Hustadvika coast at about 2 p.m. local time, Norwegian search and rescue officials said, after the ship started having engine trouble.

A total of 1,373 people were on board the ship, Viking Cruise officials told BuzzFeed News, including 915 guests and 458 crew.

Viking Cruise officials said a “small number of non-life threatening injuries have been reported” on the ship.

“Our first priority was for the safety and wellbeing of our passengers and our crew, and in close cooperation with the Norwegian Coast Guard, the captain decided to evacuate all guests from the vessel by helicopter,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement.

Officials said on Twitter the vessel had restarted one of its engines, while Reuters reported it was able to anchor about 2 kilometers, or 1.2 miles, from the coast.

Viking Cruise officials said the ship is moving along with the power of an engine and a tugboat.

Nevertheless, authorities said they were using five helicopters and a number of vessels to get people off the ship.

Breaking News: A cruise ship has suffered engine failure in windy conditions off the west coast of Norway and will evacuate its 1,300 passengers. The Viking Sky was drifting towards land and had sent out a mayday signal. The ship belongs to Viking Ocean Cruises.

About 30 people have been removed from the ship so far, Norwegian search and rescue officials reported.

Alexus Sheppard, a California writer and activist on board the ship, shared terrifying footage from on board showing furniture sliding across the floors as the vessel listed from side to side in rough seas.

At one point, part of the ship’s roof can be seen falling on some passengers.

Still waiting for evacuation. #VikingSky #Mayday

We’re waiting for evacuation by helicopter #VikingSky #Mayday

Viking Cruise officials said guests who have been removed from the ship will be staying at local hotels, and Viking would be arranging flights back home for their return.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.