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One person was killed, and four others injured, after a “rogue wave” struck the Viking Polaris cruise ship on Tuesday night.
The ship was sailing towards Ushuaia in Argentina, the starting point for expeditions to Antarctica.
The victim –a 62-year-old American woman according to the Associated Press – was hit by broken glass when the wave struck cabin windows.
“It is with great sadness that we confirmed a guest passed away following the incident,” said Viking in a statement. “We have notified the guest’s family and shared our deepest sympathies.”
The four others sustained non-life-threatening injuries and received treatment onboard.
Such “rogue waves” are extremely uncommon. According to the National Ocean Service, the “walls of water” can be twice the size of surrounding waves. In past centuries, they were the stuff of maritime myth.
Suzie Gooding, who was on the Polaris during the incident, told WRAL that it felt as though the ship had hit an iceberg.
The Polaris, one of the newest ships in the fleet, miraculously “suffered limited damage,” according to Viking’s statement.