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Two die in Norway cruise ship fire

Smoke billowing out from Norwegian fjord cruise ship Nordlys (Northern Light) at Aalesund in western Norway, yesterday. Photo: Svein Ove Ekornesvag/AFP

Smoke billowing out from Norwegian fjord cruise ship Nordlys (Northern Light) at Aalesund in western Norway, yesterday. Photo: Svein Ove Ekornesvag/AFP

A fire in a cruise ship’s engine room yesterday killed two crewmen, injured nine others and forced over 200 passengers to evacuate a popular cruise off Norway’s craggy western coast.

Police suspect an on-board explosion. Thick black smoke billowed from the stern of the boat, the MS Nordlys, of Norway’s Hurtigruten line even before it pulled into the dock at Aalesund, 400 kilometres north-west of the capital of Oslo.

Police sealed off parts of the town as the smoke engulfed nearby buildings.

The ship’s emergency evac­uation began after the fire started at 9 a.m. local time, with more than 100 passengers piling into lifeboats in the icy waters.

The rest of the ship’s 207 passengers and 55 crew were evacuated at the dock at Aalesund, with some crew staying on board to fight the fire.

Aalesund Hospital said nine people had been admitted, two with serious burns and smoke injuries. Police said all of the injured and dead were members of the ship’s crew.

Passengers said the cruise ship, which was travelling north from the city of Bergen, had organised an orderly evacuation.

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