Viking Cruises says one cruise ship passenger has been killed and four others injured after a large wave suddenly hit a cruise ship heading for a popular starting point for expeditions to the South. Pole.
The Viking Polaris was hit by a “rogue wave” on Tuesday at 10:40 p.m. local time while sailing toward Ushuaia, Argentina, located at the southernmost tip of South America, Viking Cruises said in a statement.
Viking Cruises did not say how the passenger was killed or provide the passenger’s name or nationality. Viking Cruises said the four injured passengers were treated by medical staff on board and their injuries were not life-threatening.
Pseudo-waves are unpredictable, often twice as large as the surrounding waves, and often come from a different direction from the surrounding wind and waves. according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Scientists are still trying to figure out how and when these uncommon waves form.
Ann Mah, of Topeka, Kan., told the news station WIBW that she and her husband were on board the ship when it was hit by the waves and it was “like your whole house was shaken so hard”.
“I mean, it was just a thud,” Ms. Mah said.
Viking Polaris was launched this year and is designed to go to destinations as far away as the Antarctic Peninsula. The ship is 665 feet long and can carry 378 passengers and 256 crew members.
Viking Cruises said the ship suffered “limited damage” from the waves and arrived in Ushuaia a day after it was hit.
The tour company canceled Viking Polaris’ next scheduled trip, a 13-day journey to the Antarctic Peninsula.
“We are investigating the facts surrounding this incident and will assist the relevant authorities,” the company said.
Tourism to Antarctica has been steadily increasing increased over the past 30 years, with 74,401 people go there during the 2019-2020 season, according to the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators. About 6,700 people went there during the 1992-93 season, according to the association.
In recent years, some observers have warned that the increase in tourism could be unsustainable and that it could threaten the safety of visitors or disrupt the fragile environment that is already stressed under the influence. of climate change.
That’s the start of Antarctica’s tourist season, coinciding with its summer season, which begins in late October or early November and typically lasts until March.
The death on board Viking Cruises this week comes after the deaths of two passengers on another cruise ship in Antarctica last month. Two passengers on the Quark Expeditions cruise ship died after one of the ship’s heavy inflatable Zodiac boats capsized near shore, Seatrade Cruise News Report.