Local couple recounts air rescue evacuation from stalled cruise ship

Local couple recounts air rescue evacuation from stalled cruise ship

LULING, La. (WVUE) - A couple from Luling was one of the hundreds rescued from a cruise ship in Norwegian waters Saturday (March 26) after the ship’s engines failed in stormy seas, forcing people on the ship to evacuate before it was towed to shore.

The headlines read “terrifying” and “harrowing,” but Coy and Jeri Landry said being pulled from a stalled ship into a hovering helicopter in the middle of the night is simply another travel memory.

The couple, both former teachers, started traveling the world when they both retired. They booked a trip aboard the Viking sky with promises they would see the northern lights.

Jeri remembers that Saturday was not a good “sea day,” but they went to grab a bite to eat on the ship.

“We asked for a table by the window because we like to watch the waves, and the girl looked at us and said, 'Are you sure you want to sit by the window?’" Jeri Landry recalled. “We said ‘Yes.’”

After their meal, the couple returned to their room. Unbeknownst to them, shortly after returning to their cabin, the ship’s engines failed and powerful winds and waves broke the windows where they were sitting just minutes before.

But both Coy and Jeri were safe together in the room, turning to prayer and each other for comfort.

“The boat dipped like this, and we were looking down at the water instead of across at the water and Jeri said, ‘Well my mother always said when we have bad weather like this, let’s say a deck of the rosary,'" Coy said.

The captain issued a mayday call on board, and the Landry’s left their room to meet at one of the rendezvous points. They said they remember the ship rocking back and forth, sending furniture, glasses and people careening from side to side.

“We heard even a couple of screams because people were frightened," Coy said. “We stayed calm pretty much so.”

Jeri said she felt a sense of peace throughout the ordeal.

“At one point I said the Act of Contrition. I thanked God for all of his blessings," Jeri said. “I really felt I was ready to go. I wondered how you’d feel if you thought you might die. But then it was done. I said, ‘I’m ready,’ if not, well, I have to live through this."

So the two spent the next 12 hours shuffling through the ship in a sort of single file line with hundreds of people waiting to evacuate. They said while they received few updates, they were constantly told everything was under control.

It wasn’t until 2 a.m. Sunday morning, in the cold, rainy night when the Landrys were airlifted from the Viking sky strapped together, and hastily pulled into the aircraft.

“We were swinging in the breeze all the way up, the two of us hooked together,” said Coy.

But by each others’ side they stayed, eventually able to return to the ship the next day to gather their belongings to fly back home.

“We had 15 minutes to pack," Coy said. “Because we had to make the plane to Oslo and we did it.”

With jet-lagged smiles, the two are glad to be home with another story to add to their collection, including this one picture of the northern lights they were promised.

“We’ve lived through a long time, and been through different things at different times. We’re not children, we’re adults and we can adjust," Coy said. “We’re able to pray to be close together. That if we were going, we were going together.”

The Landrys said they were very grateful to the cruise management and crew for how they handled the situation. They’ve been told they will be reimbursed and offered another trip for free, and said they will likely take the trip.

The cause of the ship's engine failure is under investigation.

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