Passengers aboard the Viking Polaris cruise ship that was hit by a “rogue wave” on a trip to Antarctica, killing an American woman, are now speaking out, saying a “wall of seawater” has rolled onto the ship.
Sheri Zhu, 62, was identified by ABC News as the person who died in Tuesday’s crash, citing Ushuaia federal court secretary Melina Rodriguez. The ship was traveling to Ushuaia, Argentina when she was hit and Fox News Digital has contacted the local government for further comment.
“If someone had told me we hit an iceberg, I would have believed them,” Tamarah Castaneda, a San Diego passenger aboard the Polaris, told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“The windows crashed, there was this wall of seawater that came in,” he added. “The beds were pushed up against the doors so they couldn’t get out of their rooms.”
AMERICAN WOMAN KILLED WHEN ‘CANAL WAVE’ HIT ANTARCTICA CRUISE SHIP
California’s Beverly Spiker also told ABC News that a “huge bang” against the window of the cabin she and her husband were in caused the frame to crack, adding, “A lot of water got in.”
The incident reportedly occurred around 10:40 p.m. local time as the vessel was cruising through Drake Passage, a crossing between the southern tip of South America and Antarctica known for its rough waters.
Argentine authorities said the woman who died was hit by broken glass when the wave smashed the cabin windows. The vessel suffered limited damage and arrived at Ushuaia, 1,926 miles south of Buenos Aires, the next day.
“It is with great sadness that we have confirmed the death of a guest as a result of the accident,” Viking Cruises said in a statement. “We have notified the host’s family and shared our deepest condolences.”
Four injured passengers were treated aboard the vessel by a doctor and medical personnel for non-life-threatening injuries, the company said.
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Rogue waves, also known as “extreme storm surges” by scientists, are twice as large as the surrounding waves and often come unexpectedly from directions other than the prevailing wind and waves, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Louis Casiano of Fox News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.