A Viking cruise ship, the Freya, recently crashed into and found itself stuck under a bridge in Erlangen, Germany. Two of the crew, both Hungarians, were on duty in the wheelhouse at the time of the crash. Both of the crew members were killed in the collision.
The crash occurred on September 4 early in the morning while it was still dark. The Viking cruise ship was traveling on the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal headed for Nuremberg which sits only several miles down stream from the bridge at Erlangen. The Viking cruise ships, including the Freya, have wheelhouses that are retractable for those times when the ships must pass under a bridge. At the time of the collision, the wheelhouse on the Freya had not been retracted by the crew.
The Viking company, in a formal statement, said that, “Freya’s wheelhouse collided with the bridge at Erlangen. Two crew members of the ship were in the wheelhouse and died as a result of injuries sustained during the collision. We are heartbroken.”
No other members of the crew except for the two manning the wheelhouse were killed or injured. The cruise’s 181 passengers were all safely escorted from the ship and put up at local hotels in Erlangen. The Viking company is working closely with German authorities on the scene and are conducting a full investigation of the incident.
The major German waterway carries many cruise ships all year long and it was closed down for a time on Sunday. It has since been reopened to river traffic and no other cruises are expected to be affected by the closing or by the crash.
Viking is sending a replacement ship and the Freya is being transported away from the scene for repairs. Viking Cruises has given the passengers a choice of continuing on with the new cruise ship or having the company pay for their return home.
PHOTO CREDITS: AP / Reuters