Speed Reads

A Freak Occurrence

Rogue wave strikes cruise ship, killing 1 and injuring 4 more

One woman was killed and at least four more were injured when a colossal rogue wave struck a cruise ship off the coast of Argentina last week. 

In a statement released Saturday, Viking Cruises said the ship, the Viking Polaris, was hit by the wave around 10:40 p.m. local time this past Tuesday, causing windows on a number of cabins to be blown out. 

"It is with great sadness that we confirmed a guest passed away following the incident," Viking said in the statement. "We have notified the guest's family and shared our deepest sympathies. We will continue to offer our full support to the family in the hours and days ahead." 

The name and nationality of the victim were not revealed by Viking. However, the U.S. State Department confirmed to ABC News that the deceased was an American citizen. The department added that it was "offering all appropriate consular assistance" to the victim's family. 

Four other passengers sustained non-life-threatening injuries, Viking said.

The Viking Polaris had been heading toward the Argentinian port city of Ushuaia en route to a cruise of Antarctica. The ship was able to arrive in port without further incident, but Viking said the Antarctic portion of the itinerary would be canceled. 

Rogue waves are defined by the National Ocean Service as "waves which are greater than twice the size of surrounding waves, are very unpredictable, and often come unexpectedly from directions other than prevailing wind and waves." Many reports describe rogue waves as "walls of water."