ALEXANDRIA, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - The world watched as passengers stranded in raging waters on a cruise ship in Norway posted nerve-wracking video on social media last weekend.
Around 1,300 people were on board the Norwegian Cruise liner when the engines went out. The passengers eventually made it off safely. Many were airlifted out by helicopter — and an Alexandria couple was on board for it all.
Patsy Quick and her husband, Kermit, were terrified by the idea of strapping into a harness and being pulled from their cruise ship into a helicopter in whipping winds.
Images of the rescue operation and conditions on the boat were shared around the world online.
It was just after 2 p.m. local time that things began to escalate on what was supposed to be a dream vacation to the Northern Lights. The Quicks were in their cabin on board the Norwegian Viking Sky Ship when the waves became too strong.
“The closet doors broke and the water pitcher smashed into smithereens and sent water everywhere,” said Patsy Quick.
The captain attempted to navigate through a storm when suddenly the engines cut out.
Passengers were holding on for their lives as they evacuated to muster stations.
“One man had a big gash on his head. A door, a big window broke, and people got wet and were knocked around and cut,” said Patsy Quick. “People were offering their shirts, sweaters whatever to these people who were wet because it was cold.”
The Quicks spent 23 grueling hours hunkered down in life vests in the ship's theater. Patsy captured photos of people around them giving in to the exhaustion at times — but then they couldn't sleep. The saving grace though, a sense of calm thanks to guidance from the crew.
“They were passing out seasick pills and injections if you needed one," said Patsy Quick.
"We didn't know at the time, we learned later that it was drifting toward the coast,” said Kermit Quick. “If he hadn't got the anchors out, it would have been another 15 to 20 minutes, we'd have hit the rocks. I think then hysteria would have set in."
About 500 people were airlifted out of the ship, but in the end, the engines restarted.
The Quicks were among those still on board when the ship was finally able to reach land.
“We were lucky. It could have turned out very badly but I really believe all of the positive vibes and prayers that were being sent, that had to help,” said Quick.