Two crew members have died after a Viking River Cruises ship collided with a bridge on the Main-Danube Canal in Southern Germany.
The wheelhouse of the Viking River Cruises ship, Viking Freya hit the rail bridge during the early hours of the morning on 11 September 2016, shortly after the cruise departed Erlangen on route to Budapest.
The 49-year old Captain and a 33-year old sailor died when the ship struck the bridge. The other 47 crew members and 181 passengers were unhurt but were left stranded on board until emergency services could extend a rescue bridge over to the vessel from the shore.
All traffic on the river was stopped during the rescue operation. It is understood that the retractable wheelhouse on the top deck of the river cruise ship was not lowered in time, causing it to collide with the rail bridge. An investigation is currently underway.
In a statement, Viking River Cruises said: “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.”
For those guests booked on cruises on Viking Freya for the remainder of 2016 will now sail on a virtually identical sister ship, Viking Bestla. Guests on these sailings will be contacted by a Viking Customer Relations representative or their travel agent.