Cruise passenger dies when ‘rogue wave’ hits Viking ship by Antarctica

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One cruise passenger died and four others were injured during an Antarctica voyage this week when a “rogue wave” slammed into the Viking Polaris, Viking Cruises said. An image of the ship captured by Agence France-Presse shows glass windows had been smashed on several lower-level cabins.

The 378-passenger expedition ship was sailing toward Ushuaia, Argentina, when the wave struck around 10:40 p.m. Tuesday.

“It is with great sadness that we confirmed a guest passed away following the incident,” the cruise line said in a statement. Representatives did not say what caused the passenger’s death. Viking said the four other people who were hurt did not suffer life-threatening injuries and were treated onboard.

“We are investigating the facts surrounding this incident and will offer our support to the relevant authorities,” the company said.

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The Argentine Naval Prefecture, the country’s coast guard, could not be reached for comment.

Viking said Polaris, which joined the company’s fleet in late September, “sustained limited damage” and arrived in Ushuaia on Wednesday.

The company canceled the next departure, a 12-night Antarctic itinerary that was scheduled to start Monday.

The National Ocean Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, describes a rogue wave as being more than twice the size of surrounding waves and says they are “very unpredictable.”

“A ‘rogue wave’ is large, unexpected, and dangerous,” the service says.

A traveler from Durham, N.C., told WRAL News in Raleigh that the impact of the wave was so strong she wondered if the ship had hit an iceberg.

“Everything was fine until the rogue wave hit, and it was just sudden — shocking,” the passenger, Suzie Gooding, told the news station. “We didn’t know if we should get our gear ready for abandoning ship.”


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