Graeme Smith's parents safe after rescue from crippled cruise ship

Helicopters rescue Norway cruise ship passengers.

JOHANNESBURG - The parents of former Proteas captain Graeme Smith are safe and sound.

They were among more than a thousand people evacuated from a luxury cruise ship off the coast of Norway.

Smith has thanked his Twitter followers for messages of support.

He'd earlier tweeted that his parents were on-board the luxury cruise ship Viking Sky which had sent out a May Day signal.

Its engines failed in stormy weather and rescue helicopters are airlifting passengers to safety.

The ship restarted three of its four engines and will be towed to port, emergency services said Sunday.  

"Three of the four engines are now working which means the boat can now make way on its own," emergency services spokesman Per Fjeld said.

The vessel is making slow headway at two to three knots (4-5 kilometres) an hour off the dangerous, rocky coast and a tug will help it towards the port of Molde, about 500 kilometres northwest of Oslo, officials said.

Police said that 17 people had been taken to hospital.

The passengers are mostly British or American, they added.

- Additional reporting AFP