Viking cruise passengers describe a red wave that killed one

Viking cruise passengers describe a red wave that killed one
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A witness to the chaos said battered passengers and crew shouted a code and enraged passengers aboard the Viking Polaris cruise ship.

“I saw people being beaten, bandages and bruises. One man had a stitch on his forehead and another woman had a bandage on her head. Another had a large lump on his head that looked like he had been hit with a baseball bat,” retired firefighter Tamarah Castaneda said. This was reported to DailyMail.

As the ship navigated the notoriously treacherous Drakes Passage between South America and Antarctica in stormy weather a rogue wave hit the boat at 22:40 he broke several windows of the cabin.

Castaneda said the wave was so strong that at first he thought there was an explosion inside the ship. He described the loud noise as two cars crashing into each other.

His wife, Deborah Terry, said the wave was “a terrible shock, like a ship hitting a brick wall”.

There was chaos and shouting after the accident. Terry said he heard crew members say the ship was taking on water. “Code Delta” was announced, ordering passengers to remain in their cabins.

On December 1, 2022, the Norwegian-flagged Viking Polaris cruise ship anchored in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean in Ushuaia, southern Argentina.
The ship was returning to Argentina after a passenger was injured during an expedition in Antarctica.
AFP via Getty Images

Terry and Castaneda were so upset that the ship was sinking that they began packing a dry bag of supplies until it was announced that the ship would continue sailing.

The next day, it was revealed that 62-year-old Sheri Zhu died as a result of the shattering of the broken window glass. The other passengers survived the terrifying ordeal, although they were battered by the wave.

The Norwegian-flagged Viking Polaris is seen anchored in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean in Ushuaia, southern Argentina, on December 1, 2022.
One person died and several others were injured when the Viking Polaris was hit by a red wave.
AFP via Getty Images

The cruise ship was making the second trip of the trip through the Drakes Passage to take another passenger to the hospital. Terry said the unidentified woman was injured during an excursion to Antarctica earlier this morning.

The crews were returning to the ship in Zodiac Inflatable Lifeboats after exploring land on the continent when the weather worsened. One woman broke her leg, the couple heard over the crewman’s radio, and her injuries were so severe that she needed surgery.

Wandering Albatross Flying Over Rough Seas, Drakes Passage.
Drakes Passage is a notoriously treacherous channel between South America and Antarctica.
Getty Images

“Because of the weather, the helicopter couldn’t come in and there were no other ships close to us,” Terry said. “We were told that all other activities have been cancelled. My wife and I understood, but we were disappointed.”

The Viking crew preferred to return to Argentina, where the liner had departed, despite the worsening weather conditions. Terry said the trip through Drakes Passage was scary the first time, but noticeably scarier the second time around.

Passengers continued their vacation, confident that the cruise ship could weather the storm.

“We went to dinner and our wine slipped off the table and broke,” Terry recalled. “People were dancing and eating and didn’t think the disaster had happened.”

The Norwegian-flagged cruise ship Viking Polaris (L), chartered by Quark Expeditions, and the MV World Explorer are seen anchored in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off Ushuaia, southern Argentina on December 1, 2022.
Passenger Deborah Terry estimated the waves to be about 40 feet high.
AFP via Getty Images

Castaneda and Terry had filmed the massive swell surrounding the cruise ship from their third-floor suite on the luxury liner just hours before the chaos.

Another video taken by the couple from the ship’s yoga studio shows plenty of white water as waves swirl around the moving boat. Terry estimated that the waves breaking on their window were about 40 feet high.

A passenger in a cabin near Zhu’s said he thought he was going to die when the couple was hit by a tidal wave.

“The ceiling and walls were flying, furniture was flying everywhere,” the man said.

Viking is still investigating the incident, he said statement last week.

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