A rogue wind gust slammed into cruise ship this week that caused the massive vessel to tilt between 20 and 45 degrees. Tables and chairs were sent flying and several passengers were injured when the Norwegian Cruise Lines ship was rocked by a freak 115 mph wind gust.
The enormous NCL Escape, which has 20 decks and is 1,-69-feet-long, left New York City on Sunday afternoon for a seven-day cruise to the Bahamas with one stop in Florida along the way. Only hours into the voyage, the Breakaway-plus class cruise ship from NCL that has a capacity of 4,266 passengers and 1,733 crew was blasted by a gust of wind of 100 knots (115 mph).
While sailing off the mid-Atlantic coast right before midnight on Sunday, the powerful wind gust caused the 165,300-ton cruise liner to heel or lean to one side. The wind forced the boat to tilt to the port side, left side. Videos from inside the $1.4 billion ship show the moment that the Norweigan Escape tilted and caused objects to fall and slide across the floor.
“I kept thinking it can’t possibly keep tipping, and it kept tipping. Everything in our room falling and sliding…I have never been so scared in my whole life,” passenger Samantha Foster said. “Even the cruise director when we came on right after the tilting started, his voice was shaking and he could barely speak. All the plates and glassware smashed on the floor. A lotto machine fell on a lady. Blood everywhere.”
“For the ones who saw the news about the extreme situation that happened last night on the ship we’re on, Norwegian Escape, we’re fine. Were really freaked out, but now fine,” a passenger said. “There’s no exaggeration on statements and pictures posted online. Ship was like at 45 degrees angle…freaked out everyone…but they said it was normal lol.”
“Everyone was out of their rooms. Holding each other, crying, smoking,” another passenger said of the chaos after the traumatizing event on the Atlantic Ocean. “Many spent the night in common areas with jackets on ready to evacuate.”
Passengers claim to have suffered injuries such as broken bones, cuts, and panic attacks. On Tuesday, a number of ambulances greeted the Norwegian Escape when it arrived in Port Canaveral. At least eight passengers were reportedly taken to a local hospital.
NCL said that the Escape will continue to travel after the freak wind. “Neither the current itinerary, nor the next sailing are expected to be impacted,” Norweigan Cruise Lines said on the company’s official Twitter account. “Several injuries were reported and those guests and crew received immediate attention or are being treated by the ship’s medical staff. There was no damage to the ship; she remains fully operational and continues her scheduled itinerary.”
“A cold front and area of low pressure associated with Winter Storm Scott pushed off the East Coast Sunday night,” said meteorologist Brian Donegan. “That likely played a role in the sudden gust of wind the ship experienced.”
Four months ago, the Carnival Cruise ship Sunshine also tilted and caused passengers to get hurt. That scary situation resulted from equipment malfunction on the cruise ship.
In January of 2018, the Norwegian Breakaway encountered rough seas after it sailed right into a winter storm. Many passengers got sick and others say they were “completely traumatized.”