Fire on Norway coastal cruiser, hundreds evacuated


A fire that the broke out in the engine room of a Norwegian fjord cruise ship on Thursday forced hundreds to evacuate and injured up to a dozen, officials said, while local media reported two deaths. “The fire is not under control yet,” Anders Bang Andersen of the Rescue Coordination Centre told AFP. Andersen could not confirm a report published on Norwegian daily VG Nett’s website that rescuers had found two dead bodies aboard.
“There are plenty of (firefighting) resources at the scene,” he said, roughly three hours after the ship Nordlys called for assistance. The ship, one of the Hurtigruten company’s coastal cruisers, was at sea off the southwestern city of Aalesund when the blaze broke out and was quickly escorted to port. Some 251 of the 262 passengers on the ship were evacuated. “The remaining people have stayed to fight the fire,” Andersen said.
Rescue services received varying reports of the number of injured, he added. A hospital in Aalesund said on its website it had admitted six patients suffering from smoke inhalation and burns, and had received reports that six more could be on their way. Big clouds of black smoke were seen billowing out of the docked ship as rescue crews evacuated the passengers and fire fighters battled the blaze.
Norwegian media reports said some of the injured may have been crew members but Andersen could not confirm the claim.