A passenger has died and four others were injured after a large wave hit a cruise ship during a storm.
The Viking Polaris ship was hit by a “rogue wave incident” on Tuesday 10.30pm local time while travelling towards Ushuaia, Argentina, which is a popular starting point for expeditions to Antarctica, Vikings Cruises said.
The name or nationality of the passenger who died has not been provided by the cruise line, nor has their cause of death. However, Argentinian media is reporting the victim was a 62-year-old US woman who died after being struck by shattered glass.
The giant wave had smashed several panels of glass on-board the ship.
The four passengers who were injured were treated on-board by medical staff for “non-life-threatening injuries”.
“It is with great sadness that we confirmed a guest passed away following the incident. We have notified the guest’s family and shared our deepest sympathies,” the Viking cruise company said in a statement.
Viking said it was “investigating the facts surrounding this incident”.
Ann Mah, of Topake, Kansas, was on the ship and told news station it was “just like your whole house got shook really hard”.
“I mean, it was just a thud,” Ms Mah said.
The cruise ship suffered minor damage and was sitting anchored off Ushuaia, 3200 kilometres from the capital Buenos Aires, with several windows smashed on the side, AFP reported.
Scientists often refer to rogue waves as extreme storm waves that surge out of nowhere, often in an unpredictable direction, and can look like a steep wall of water, up to twice the size of surrounding waves.
These rare killer waves were once seen as a myth reported by mariners or explorers. The polar explorer Ernest Shackleton wrote in his book of a “gigantic” freak wave he encountered in Antarctica in 1916.
However, scientists have learned more about them in recent decades, studying how they emerge and how to predict the wall of water that can surge up even in calm seas.
The Viking Polaris was launched in 2022 and is the newest ship in the company’s fleet.
With its long hull, straight bow, and fin stabiliser, it was built for difficult Antarctic and Arctic conditions.
Aboard the Polaris there is also The Hangar, and enclosed marina inside the ship that’s shielded from wind, waves and weather so everyone is protected while boarding excursion boats.
Viking Polaris travels to various destinations including Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, Argentina for the 13-day Antarctic Explorer itinerary, Toronto to Milwaukee, US for the eight-day Niagara and the Great Lakes itinerary, and it also has a Duluth US to Ushuaia trip for its 71-day Longitudinal World Cruise.
The incident comes two weeks after two tourists died on another Antarctic cruise.
The two men, aged 76 and 80, had left the World Explorer ship for an excursion on an inflatable zodiac boat which overturned near the shore.
– with AFP
Story Credit: news.com.au