When Norwegian cruise ship Viking Sky lost engine power in the North Sea on March 23 in the midst of an intense ocean storm that packed 40-plus mile-per-hour winds and generated 25-foot waves, the drifting vessel and its nearly 1,300 passengers were in desperate need of immediate help.

As part of a coordinated rescue effort, two GE CT7-powered S-92s (operated by CHC Helicopter Norway) were among five helicopters that sprang into action to assist in this daring rescue operation.

While battling the elements, collectively, the aircraft airlifted 479 passengers – 15 at a time – safely to shore. Those requiring medical attention were subsequently transported to hospitals. (Thankfully, there were no casualties and minimal injuries.)

Six helicopter crews from local bases took part in the operation (12 pilots, six hoist operators, seven rescue swimmers, one system operator, two engineers plus additional support from CHC global operations center).

Per Andre Rykhus, CHC Norway General Operations Manage, stated, “I am really proud of the CHC team behind this huge effort during the rescue operation. Their ability to quickly collaborate with the HRS team ensured we provided a well-organized and effective air operation that helped keep these passengers safe in challenging conditions.”

GE Aviation’s John Ledbetter, Customer Service & Field Service Manager, commented, “We are proud to see the product we support powering an incredible, heroic rescue mission. The CT7-8A is put to the test in difficult environments daily. Whether it be safely transporting passengers to and from an oil rig or saving passengers in dire conditions on a cruise ship, the CT7-8A’s reliability ensures our customers are in a position to get the job done.”