BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A passenger from the United States was killed and four other people were injured when a large wave hit a cruise ship sailing toward southern Argentina.
In a statement, Viking Cruises said the rogue wave hit the Viking Polaris on Nov. 29 while the ship was heading toward Ushuaia, Argentina.
The 62-year-old woman who was killed was hit by broken glass when the wave broke windows onboard the ship, The Associated Press reported. The ship docked in Ushuaia the next day.
“It is with great sadness that we confirmed a guest passed away following the incident,” Viking Cruises said in a statement. “We have notified the guest’s family and shared our deepest sympathies. We will continue to offer our full support to the family in the hours and days ahead.”
While Argentine officials identified the victim as an American, the woman’s name and hometown were not released, according to the AP.
“We wondered if we hit an iceberg,” Suzie Gooding, a passenger on the ship, told WRAL. “Everything was fine until the rogue wave hit, and it was just sudden. Shocking. We didn’t know if we should get our gear ready for abandoning ship.”
Viking Cruises described the other four people’s injuries as non-life-threatening and said they were treated by the ship’s onboard doctor.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describes rogue waves as larger than twice the size of surrounding waves, unpredictable, and coming unexpectedly from directions other than prevailing wind and waves. Most reports describe them as “walls of water.”
Viking Cruises said in its statement that it canceled the next departure for the ship, scheduled for Dec. 5.
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