Two crew members have died after a Viking river cruise ship struck a bridge on the Main-Danube Canal in southern Germany.
The wheelhouse of Viking Longship, Viking Freya, hit a rail bridge in the early hours of Sunday morning, shortly after leaving Erlangen en-route to Budapest.
“For reasons not known so far the driver’s cabin of the ship collided with a bridge, and two crew members, 33 and 49-years-old, were killed,” police spokesman Michael Petzold said. “The two men had to be freed with heavy equipment by firefighters.”
The 49-year-old captain, and a 33-year-old sailor died in the collision. The other 47 crew members and 181 passengers were unhurt, but were stranded onboard until emergency services could extend a rescue bridge from the shore to the vessel.
In a statement, Viking River Cruises, explained that “all guests have been transported to local hotels.”
“We are heartbroken, and company executives are on the scene to work closely with local authorities to understand the details of the accident.
“The Freya had embarked on a sailing the previous day and will now be moved for repairs. Guests may continue on their journey with a modified itinerary, embarking on the Bestla in Passau. Or, they may return home as soon as possible.
“Customer Relations representatives will be in touch with all guests upon their return home to discuss compensation for the disruption to their trip.”
Guests currently booked on Viking Freya sailings for the remainder of 2016 will now sail on Viking Bestla, a sister ship that is virtually identical. Guests on these sailings will be contacted directly by a Viking Customer Relations representative or their travel agent.
All traffic on the river was halted. It is believed that the retractable wheelhouse was not lowered in time. An investigation into the incident is underway.