Rogue wave kills cruise passenger, injures 4

Viking Polaris

A woman has died, and at least four other people have been injured, after a rogue wave struck a window on board a cruise ship off the coast of Argentina.

In a statement released over the weekend, cruise operator Viking Cruises said the ship, Viking Polaris, was hit by a wave on 29 November at around 10.40pm local time, as it was sailing through the Drake Passage towards Ushuaia, Argentina, en route to a cruise around Antarctica.

Windows of several cabins were smashed by the wave, and it is understood several people were hit by shattered glass.

“If somebody had told me we had hit an iceberg I would have believed them,” Tamarah Castaneda, a passenger from San Diego onboard the Polaris, told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“The windows came crashing in, there was this wall of seawater that came in,” she added. “Beds were being shoved up against the doors so that they were not able to get out of their rooms.”

The nationality and identity of the victim haven’t been revealed by Viking, but ABC News reports that she was a 62-year-old American citizen.

Viking says the family has been informed, and it will “continue to offer our full support to the family in the hours and days ahead.”

The four injured passengers were treated on the scene and are expected to make a full recovery.

Rogue waves are large waves or walls of water that are roughly twice the height of surrounding waves. The National Ocean Service describes them as “very unpredictable,” and says they “often come unexpectedly from directions other than prevailing wind and waves.”

AFP reports that the ship suffered minor damage and was sitting anchored off Ushuaia, 3,200 kilometres from Buenos Aires, with several windows smashed on the side.

The Viking Polaris was launched this year and is the newest ship in the company’s fleet. It was built for tough Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, with a straight bow, long hull and fin stabiliser.

Last week, a man was saved after spending 15 hours in the ocean, after falling overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico.

And, in February, a huge wave smashed through the windows of a German commuter ferry — as seen in the video above. One person was injured in the incident, which happened as large parts of the country were battered by severe storms.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.