An American woman was killed and four other passengers were injured when a tidal wave struck a Viking cruise ship that was sailing near the southern tip of South America on an Antarctic cruise, the company said Thursday.
The unidentified 62-year-old woman was struck by broken glass when the wave broke the windows of her cabin inside the Viking Polaris ship Tuesday night during a storm, Argentine authorities said.
The ship sustained limited damage and arrived in Ushuaia, 1,926 miles south of Buenos Aires, the next day.
“It is with great sadness that we confirm that a female passenger passed away after the incident,” Viking said in a statement. “We have notified the guest's family and share our deepest condolences.”
The four injured passengers were treated on board the ship by a doctor and medical personnel for non-life-threatening injuries, the company said.
The ship itself sustained “limited damage,” Viking said.
“We are investigating the facts surrounding this incident and will offer our support to the relevant authorities,” the company said.
“Our focus remains the safety and well-being of our guests and crew, and we are working directly with them to arrange the return journey.”
Red waves, also known as “extreme storm waves” by scientists, are twice the size of surrounding waves and often come unexpectedly from directions other than the prevailing wind and waves, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. .
Suzie Gooding, who was on board the ship when the incident occurred, told WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina, that it felt like the ship had hit an iceberg.
“Everything was fine until the wave came and it was sudden. Shocking,” she said. “We didn't know if we should prepare our equipment to jump ship.”
Viking said it has canceled the ship's next scheduled departure, the Antarctic Explorer, scheduled to sail December 5-17.
The Viking Polaris, a vessel that has luxury facilities and was built in 2022, has a capacity for 378 passengers and 256 crew members.