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Rescue helicopters were battling severe winds on Saturday to airlift more than 1,300 people off a Viking Cruises’ ship that issued a distressed call after an engine failure off the coast of Norway.

Of the 1,300 stranded, 915 were passengers on the Viking Cruises’ ship called The Viking Sky, Norway’s Rescue Coordination Centre told ABC News.

Rescuers airlift 1,300 people from cruise ship stranded off Norwegian coast

A cruise ship with engine problems sent a mayday call off Norway’s western coast on Saturday as it desperately tried to avoid being grounded on the rocky coast.

Rescue workers then launched a high-risk evacuation of the ship’s 1,300 passengers and crew, winching them one-by-one up to helicopters as heaving waves tossed the ship from side to side.

“It’s a demanding exercise, because they (passengers) have to hang in the air under a helicopter and there’s a very, very strong wind,” witness Odd Roar Lange told NRK at the site.

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Image courtesy Eva Frisnes

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