Two Couples From Pierre Survive Harrowing Cruise

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Two Pierre couples are on their way home after surviving a frightening vacation overseas.

Remember seeing the incredible video of a cruise ship that got caught in extremely rough waters off the coast of Norway?  Four people from South Dakota were onboard the Viking Sky; one of them was even hurt. 

Lowell and Karen Somsen and Vern and Jeanne Olson set out for a 12-day cruise to see the Northern Lights, but their dream vacation turned into a nightmare. 

The video says it all.  Tables and chairs sliding and pieces of ceiling falling on passengers as the cruise ship pitched back and forth in a violent storm.

The captain issued a mayday call after experiencing engine problems in an area known for rough waters. On Saturday, waves up to 26 feet high slammed the ship.  A boat rescue was out of the question.  479 passengers had to be airlifted to shore, including Lowell and Karen Somsen.  Karen had injured her hip, so they were some of the first to be evacuated. 

“Thousands and thousands of gallons of water come rushing in on all four of us and 60,70,80 people maybe and we all had our life jackets on but the water it was tables, chairs, glasses, people everything blew down this whole restaurant kind of like the titanic when it flooded it just reminded me of that, we thought we were gone,” Lowell Somsen said.

At least 20 people were hurt.  

The cruise line is now facing questions about why the ship set sail despite storm warnings. 

KELOLAND News has been trying to contact the Somsens, but as we said they are on their way home.  We hope to catch up with them once they land at the airport. 

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