A cruise ship with 1,300 passengers on board has sent out a mayday call after suffering an engine failure in heavy winds near Norway.
The ship, named Viking Sky, was drifting towards land when it let out the distress signal.
Helicopters have been evacuating people from the vessel amid high waves and strong winds.
It was later able to restart one engine, was anchored just over a mile from land and is no longer adrift.
The ship battled heavy winds and high waves in Hustadvika, an area of the Norwegian coastline known to be dangerous
Up to 90 passengers have been hoisted up one by one from the deck of the vessel and airlifted to a village located just north of the town of Molde on Norway’s west coast.
One woman messaged family to let them know she had to be stretchered off the ship after heavy waves battered the ship and left her ‘submerged underwater’.
The passenger said: ‘A wave smashed a door open right behind us and we were submerged under water.
‘We thought that was it and my knee has been damaged.
‘I’ve been stretchered off which was just as scary.’
One passenger messaged family to let them know she had to be stretchered off the ship after heavy waves battered the ship and left her ‘submerged under water’
And rough seas have forced two rescue ships to turn back as even tugboats are not sure they will be able to reach the stricken cruise liner.
The stretch, named Hustadvika, is known as one of the most dangerous sections of the Norwegian coast with many shipwrecks in the region.
A spokesperson said: ‘If we need to evacuate everyone, it will take a long time.’
The ship, built in 2017, belongs to Viking Ocean Cruises founded by Norwegian billionaire Torstein Hagen.
According to the company website, its passenger capacity is 930.
Several boats and four helicopters took part in the rescue and facilities to receive passengers have been set up on land.
But only 10 to 15 people can be taken per flight on emergency helicopters sent to airlift passengers to safety.
It is thought there are currently still more than 885 passengers on board.
The wind was blowing at a speed of 38 knots, police told Norwegian newspaper VG.
All search and rescue teams in the region are mobilising, including 60 volunteers from the Norwegian Red Cross, a spokesman said.
Viking’s operational headquarters, located in Basel, Switzerland, did not respond when contacted by telephone.