One day after a fire on board a Norwegian cruise liner killed two crew members and forced the evacuation of 260 others, rescue teams raced to pump water from the hull of the ship as it came dangerously close to tipping over.
Early on Friday, the ship was listing nearly 22 degrees after taking in a dangerous amount of water, the Norway International Network reported. A Dutch salvage team placed three pumps inside the vessel Friday morning, and by midday workers were able to reduce this ship's list to about 17 degrees. That brings it just below the critical line of 20 degrees, at which tipping over is of serious concern.
At the moment, it looks promising, Police Chief Jon Steven Hasseldal told reports at the dockside. It's still a serious situation ... but now there is a bit more stability in the ship.
Back in June, live footage of another Hurtigruten cruise ship that sailed for six days through the fjords along the coast of Norway mesmerized Norwegians so much that it blasted through ratings records in the country.
The fjord trip, entitled Hurtigruten - Minute by Minute, broadcast by Norway's NRK, was watched by 2.54 million Norwegians. That's more than half the country's population.
Now, the situation is entirely different, with the jubilation in June turned into sorrow in September.
MS Nordlys, one of Hurtigrunten's 12 vessels that ply Norway's craggy coast, was traveling along the popular route from Bergen to the Arctic town of Kirkenes when the fire broke out in the engine room at 9:20 a.m. local time on Thursday.
The ship was due to arrive at its port of call in the town of Aalesund, 230 miles northwest of the capital, Oslo, when the fire began. More than 100 of the 207 passengers were evacuated into lifeboats before the remaining departed at port.
Nine crew members were taken to the hospital for smoke-related injuries. Two crew members were treated for serious burns while two others perished in the fire.
Meanwhile, the 207 passengers on board the MS Nordlys praised the crew for an orderly and calm evacuation of the vessel.
While the cause of the fire remains unknown, police suspect that an on board explosion is to blame.
Nothing indicates sabotage or points to terror, Trygve Oedegaard, head of operations at the Aalesund police, told The Associated Press.
Officials for the Hurtigruten line said on Friday that they were organizing emergency passports and providing money for the passengers who were forced to leave their belongings on board during the evacuation.
When the smoking cruise liner arrived into Aalesund, police sealed off sections of the town due to the smoke from the fire.
Aalesund, a popular destination for tourists in Norway, is known for its art nouveau architecture and is often voted the prettiest town in the country.
Now, the town is covered in a cloud of smoke.
You can follow the drama on a live stream from Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) HERE.