Vol 70, No 2 (2019)
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Published online: 2019-06-25

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Large-scale helicopter rescue of cruise passengers and freighter crew off the coast of Norway in stormy weather

Eilif Dahl1
Pubmed: 31237665
IMH 2019;70(2):79-81.


During a storm on the 23rd of March 2019, southbound Viking Sky was crossing the notorious Hustadvika bay off Norway with 1373 (915 passengers, 458 crew) aboard when power was lost and the ship drifted towards the shore. Mayday was called at 14:15. When the dropped anchors caught and one engine had started, the ship was about 100 m from the rocky coast. Helicopter evacuation was started at 15:30, but was slightly delayed around 19:00 when 9 crewmembers from a nearby powerless freighter, Hagland Captain, had to be airlifted to safety. The helicopter rescue from Viking Sky was called off at mid-day on the 24th of March. Using its own engines the ship arrived in Molde at 16:20 with 436 passengers and 458 crewmembers. In all, 479 passengers, many of them elderly and three seriously injured, had been airlifted off the ship one-by-one in rough weather by a relay of 6 helicopters, making this one of the most remarkable helicopter rescue operations ever. 

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