After Rogue Wave Kills a Cruise Passenger, TikTok Videos Show How Turbulent Crossing Drake Passage Can Be

The Viking Polaris was traveling through the notoriously rough Drake Passage when it was struck by a rogue wave.

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By Emily Rella • Dec 12, 2022 Originally published Dec 12, 2022

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Damage sustained aboard the Viking Polaris outside of Argentina

A made-for-the-movies nightmare came true when a cruise ship was hit by a "rogue" wave leaving one passenger dead and four injured.

The Viking Polaris was struck on Tuesday just before 11 p.m. as it headed toward Argentina with the ultimate destination of Antarctica.

While en route, the ship had to turn back towards Argentina due to a separate issue onboard — days earlier, a woman severely injured her leg during a small boat excursion and needs surgery, which caused the ship to turn around.

The wave hit during a part of the ocean that's known as the Drake Passage, a notoriously turbulent stretch of the sea located off the coast of South America — with some brave voyagers dubbing it the "roughest water in the world."

Though there was minimal damage made to the ship (it made it to Argentina the following day) American Sheri Zhu did not survive the incident, which occurred under conditions that passengers described as "horrible" and "choppy" outside.

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Now, surviving passengers are speaking out.

"This wave hit it and came over and literally broke through windows and just washed into these rooms, and not only did it wash into the rooms, but it broke walls down, and once some walls went into the next room," Tom Trusdale, a passenger aboard the Polaris who was also on the Zodiac boat excursion told ABC News.

Viking Cruises confirmed that four passengers "sustained non-life-threatening injuries" that were treated on board and maintained that they are investigating the incident.

Other passengers noted the terrifying nature of the wave crash, describing flooding and broken windows, which can be seen in photos of the now-docked ship.

"No matter what side of the boat you're on, it was felt throughout the ship that clearly something bad had happened," passenger Beverly Spiker told ABC News. "So everybody was pretty shook up."

In light of the incident, many started sharing and resurfacing videos on TikTok of what it's really like crossing the dangerous passage in hopes of shedding light on just how terrifying the Polaris incident must have been.

@theworldpursuit Replying to @Negar Nikaeein Day 2 of the Antarctica adventures #DrakePassage #Antarctica ♬ love nwantinti (ah ah ah) - CKay

@mylifesatravelmovie This is my 6th #drakepassage crossing and can confirm that yes, it is that bad. Take Dramamine & you'll be fine-ish! #antarctica #drakeshake #drakeshakechallenge #mylifesatravelmovie #bucketlist ♬ Titanic - Titanic

@edmundotiajr One of my most exciting and scariest experience as a Seafarer. #SusukaPeroHindiSusuko #Antarctica #marinotiktok #seamantiktok #fypシ゚viral #fypspotted #fypdongggggggg #TRAVELTHEWORLDFORFREE ♬ original sound - Edmundo C. Tia Jr

Viking Cruises' next voyage to Antarctica, which was set to take place from December 5 to 17, was promptly canceled by the company.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

News Writer

Emily Rella is a news writer at Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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