Mar 25, 2019 17:14 Asia/Tehran [Updated: Sep 18, 2019 15:34 Asia/Tehran]

A stricken luxury cruise liner that had hundreds of its passengers airlifted to safety on Sunday has been towed to a port in Norway as it emerged it narrowly escaped running aground and a major disaster.

Iran Press/Europe:  About 900 passengers and crew were still onboard the Viking Sky when it arrived at the port of Molde on Norway’s west coast on Sunday afternoon. Five helicopters had earlier winched 479 people to safety as huge waves tossed the ship around.

According to The Guardian, twenty people were treated for injuries including broken bones, cuts, and bruises, rescuers said.

Social media footage showed chairs, large pot plants and other furniture on the ship rolling across the floor and crashing into walls. Parts of the ceiling were falling down on to passengers as the ship swayed heavily. Passengers were wearing orange life vests as waves broke down doors and windows and cold water poured over their feet.

The cruise liner was only 100 meters away from striking rocks in shallow waters when it finally managed to turn.

The ship had started struggling with engine problems in bad weather off Norway’s western coast on Saturday afternoon, in an area known for its rough, unpredictable waters. It reportedly issued a mayday call when it started drifting towards the rocky shore. Police said the crew managed to anchor off the coast near the town of Ålesund.

The evacuations took place in extremely difficult conditions. Norwegian media reported gusts of up to 38 knots (43 mph) and waves over 8 meters in an area known for its rough, frigid waters.

The Norwegian public broadcaster NRK said the Viking Sky’s evacuation was a slow and dangerous process, as passengers needed to be hoisted one by one from the cruise ship to the five available helicopters.

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