Passengers scramble to escape as cruise ship hit by 115mph winds

A cruise liner was hit by extreme winds on Sunday night, with several passengers injured after furniture flew across the ship.

The Norwegian Escape was sailing off the East Coast of the US when it was rocked by winds of 100 knots – the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane.

The gusts caused the ship to strongly tilt to the port-side just before midnight.

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Video taken by a passenger shows those on board scrambling to get out of the way as tables and chairs crash across the floor, while bottles smash to the ground from behind the bar.

“I’ve been on a lot of cruises but this has never happened,” one man can be heard saying.

Some passengers can be heard crying and screaming in the background, while others can be seen trying to make their way across the room with difficulty.

Passenger Aaron Black was at the ship’s piano bar when the vessel started to tip.

He told CNN that the whole ship “kind of just tilted to the side for about 30 seconds,” and that everything around him suddenly started to move.

“It was a very surreal escalation from ‘Oh, this is normal’ to ‘This is very unusual and probably shouldn’t be happening,’” he said.

Black wrote on YouTube in a caption accompanying his video: “All of the crew handled everything fantastically and all has been put back together.

“The captain and cruise director were quick with clear and concise updates and the crew even went as far as checking in on passengers who were in their staterooms throughout the night.”

The ship returned to Port Canaveral in Florida on Tuesday morning, where ambulances were waiting to tend to those injured in the incident.

“Several injuries were reported and those guests and crew received immediate attention or are being treated by the ship’s medical staff,” Norwegian Cruise Line tweeted on 4 March. 

“There was no damage to the ship; she remains fully operational and continues her scheduled itinerary.”

The Escape left on its next voyage to the Bahamas on Tuesday night.

The Norwegian Escape can carry up to 4,266 passengers and 1,733 crew members. 

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