Tragedy struck on board Viking River Cruises, Viking Freya, in the early hours of Sunday 11th September when the ship crashed into a bridge on the main Danube Canal in Southern Germany, killing two crew members when the wheelhouse was completely demolished.
The incident happened shortly after the ship left the German town of Erlangen and she was en-route to Budapest. The other 47 crew members and 181 passengers were unhurt in the incident.
Police spokesman Michael Petzold issued a statement:
“For reasons not known so far the driver’s cabin of the ship collided with a bridge, and two crew members, 33 and 49-years-old, were killed,. The two men had to be freed with heavy equipment by firefighters.”
Viking issued a statement expressing their sincere sadness at the incident and that passengers had the choice of continuing their cruise on a revised itinerary on Viking Bestla or return home. The passengers had already been provided with local hotel accommodation in the meantime.
“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.”
The Viking Freya will undergo repairs, whilst an investigation into the incident takes place. It is understood initial thoughts are that the retractable wheelhouse wasn’t lowered enough in time to go under the bridge.
Passengers that were booked on the remaining cruises of the 2016 will be contacted by Viking Customer Relations or their travel agents, The sailings will be take place on her near identical sister Viking Bestla.