Three 30 foot waves crashed into the Louis Majesty cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday. Two passengers died.
The Greece-based Louis Cruise Lines ship was north-east of Barcelona, Spain, heading east to Genoa, Italy when three "abnormal" waves struck the vessel.
The waves smashed windows in public areas. CNN reported that the deceased passengers included a German man, 69, from North Rhine Westphalia, and an Italian man, 52, who was traveling with his family.
Fourteen others were treated aboard the cruise ship for injuries, and were hospitalized when the ship returned to Barcelona on Wednesday night. One passenger sustained two broken legs in the incident.
The last "rogue" wave case involved Norwegian Cruise Line's Dawn cruise ship in 2005. The NCL ship was hit by a 70 foot wave, breaking cabin windows and flooding over 60 cabins. Another maritime lawyer in Miami sued NCL, alleging that the cruise line endangered its passengers by trying to sail through rough weather so that the cruise ship could arrive back in port in time to be filmed in Donald Trump's Apprentice television show.
NCL denied these allegations, and a jury decided in NCL's favor.
March 5, 2010 Update: See updated article: President of International Cruise Victims Questions Cruise Passenger Safety - Louis Cruise Lines No Stranger to Disaster
TIME Magazine: "The Cruise Ship Disaster: How Do 'Rogue Waves' Happen?"
Video CBS News