Home Foreign 1 dead, dozens await rescue from burning ferry off Greece

1 dead, dozens await rescue from burning ferry off Greece


ATHENS – Dozens of passengers and crew were awaiting rescue from a Greek ferry on Monday, a day after it caught fire en route to Italy, official report said.
The report added that some 149 people of the 478 who were on board the ship when it caught fire remain in the stricken vessel.
However, 70 people were taken to hospitals in the southern Italian cities of Lecce, Brindisi and Bari.
One person was killed while trying to jump off the burning ferry into the Adriatic Sea, the Italian Coast Guard said. Another person was injured.
A rescued Turkish passenger said that he saw four dead bodies, although there has been no official confirmation of his account.
“The rescue operation is one of the most complicated to date because of the rough seas, heavy rain and gale-force winds,’’ Greek Merchant Marine Minister, Miltiades Varvisiotis told reporters.
However, the fire appeared to have disabled the ship.
According to the report, a towing attempt failed when the rope broke.
“The fire was under control, but smoke continued to bellow from decks below and the blaze was in danger of flaring up again’’, it reported.
The fire was believed to have started at dawn in the garage of the ship, which was 55 kilometres off the north coast of the island of Corfu when it sent its first distress signal.
At 0500 GMT, marine traffic websites indicated it had moved a few dozen kilometres further north-west.
The Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic, which belonged to Greek ferry line ANEK, was en route to the Italian port of Ancona from the Greek port of Patras.
Many passengers were on the deck waiting to be evacuated, others were reportedly trapped one level further down.
One passenger, speaking via mobile phone, said the lifeboats available on the ship were not sufficient.
“Many of the passengers managed to make their way to the top deck and on the bridge.
“There are several cargo ships and vessels around us, but the waves and rain are making it difficult for them to approach the ship,’’ passenger Rania Firaiou said.
Another passenger said that the heat was so intense that shoes had started to melt.
“We were burning like mice,’’ a passenger who gave his name as Nikos said.
The Italian Navy vessel San Giorgio took command of the operation late on Sunday.
Greek and Italian helicopters and

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rescue vessels were also in the area overnight, as well as the passenger ship, Europa Cruise. (dpa/NAN)

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