‘Rogue wave’ strikes Antarctic cruise ship, leaves 1 dead and 4 injured

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A passenger on an Antarctic cruise died and four others were injured after their Viking ship was hit by a “rogue wave,” the cruise line said.

The incident happened around 10:40 p.m. local time on Tuesday while the Viking Polaris ship was en route to Ushuaia, Argentina, Viking said.

A guest died after the incident, Viking said, but did not share further details about the cause of death. The victim’s family has been notified, the company said. The identity or nationality of the passenger has not been released.

Four other guests suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the incident and were treated by the ship’s doctor and medical staff, Viking said.

“We are investigating the facts surrounding this incident and will offer our support to the relevant authorities,” Viking said in a statement on Thursday. “Our focus remains on the safety and well-being of our guests and crew, and we are working directly with them to arrange the return journey.”

Damaged windows can be seen on the Viking Polaris after it was hit by a rogue wave.

Thanks to Beverly Spiker

The ship sustained “limited damage” from the rogue wave and arrived in Ushuaia “without further incident” on Wednesday, Viking said. Photos of the docked ship showed several damaged windows.

Passengers aboard the ship described choppy conditions prior to the incident.

California Beverly Spiker told ABC News that a “massive blow” to the window of her and her husband’s cabin caused her window frame to break.

“Obviously something big had happened,” she said. “There was a lot of water shooting in.”

“Luckily our windows held up,” she added, though other rooms on their side of the ship were “washed out.”

PHOTO: Damaged windows can be seen on the Viking Polaris after it was hit by a rogue wave.

Damaged windows can be seen on the Viking Polaris after it was hit by a rogue wave.

Thanks to Beverly Spiker

Spiker’s niece, Suzie Gooding, of North Carolina, told ABC News that the ship was passing through the Drake Passage, “known for its turbulent seas,” at the time.

Gooding said that despite the conditions outside looking “appalling”, the inside was “like a normal cruise ship” leading up to the incident. She said she felt a “sudden shiver” that caused cupboards to open.

“It was just incredible,” she said. “At the time it happened, we personally wondered if, you know, we knew we weren’t near icebergs, but it’s like we hit an iceberg? It was just so sudden.”

Spiker said she and other passengers were “shaken up” afterwards.

“Which side of the boat you’re on, it was felt all over the ship that something bad had clearly happened,” she said. “So everyone was pretty shaken up.”

The ship is docked while passengers await onward travel plans from Viking, according to Gooding, who said two other ships in their bay in Ushuaia were also damaged, possibly by rogue waves.

The Viking Polaris ship’s next departure to Antarctica, scheduled for Dec. 5, has been canceled “after careful consideration,” the cruise line said.

Rogue or extreme storm waves are “more than twice the size of surrounding waves” and are “highly unpredictable,” according to the National Ocean Service.

Ushuaia, at the southernmost tip of South America, is a common departure point for cruises to Antarctica.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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