Scores ‘Trapped’ On Burning Italian Ferry

A fire has broken out on an Italian ferry during bad weather off Greece, according to officials.

More than 400 passengers were on board the Norman Atlantic and the Greek authorities are carrying out an emergency evacuation.

The ship caught fire just after 6am local time while travelling from Patras, Greece, to Ancona in Italy.

Italian and Albanian authorities are also taking part in the operation, which is being conducted in difficult conditions with strong winds.

Several planes and helicopters are being used to aid with the operation.

The Greek authorities told Sky News producer Anthee Carassava that explosions are still being heard on board the ship.

One passenger told Greek TV: “They tried to lower some boats, but not all of us could get in.

“There is no coordination. It’s dark, the bottom of the vessel is on fire.

“We are on the bridge, we can see a boat approaching… we opened some boxes and got some life vests, we are trying to save ourselves.”

One told the MEGA TV channel: “We could see fire everywhere. The flames were coming from the garage, cabins…”

Another, quoted by The Daily appealed for help saying: “We urgently need help. We cannot leave the ship. There are boats but we are trapped.”

The ship, carrying 222 vehicles, 411 passengers and 55 crew, was 44 nautical miles northwest of the island of Corfu when it sent a distress signal after a fire started in the lower deck, Greek coast guard officials said.

The evacuation of the ferry is taking place in difficult conditions, with gale-force winds lashing the vessel.

Around 150 people managed to make it into life boats and have since been rescued by a container ship that was nearby when the fire broke out.

A further 30 are said to have been transferred on to another vessel. Newspapers said priority has been given to women and children.

The Greek Daily newspaper says a number of passengers are still trapped on the upper decks.

According to the Athens newspaper Typos, there are seven ships in the area, with the Spirit of Piraeus taking on passengers.

The crew have been telling the media the fire is under control.

The website says the ship is operated by the Anek line, on a route which in the summer is popular with tourists heading to the southern Greek mainland.

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28 December 2014 | 9:00 am – Source:


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