An Italian ferry travelling from Igoumenitsa Greece to Ancona Italy catches fire near the Corfu Island, because of the heat generated on its garage.
According to Greek media on the “Norman Atlantic” ferry of the Grimaldi company, were travelling about 478 people. The fire is suspected to have broken out early in the morning about 04:00 o clock, in the ferry’ garage where 222 vehicles were found. It has been confirmed that 268 people on the board were Greek nationals, hundreds Italians and 22 Albanian citizens, whereas 54 people are part of the crew.
SOS alarm was sent at about 6:30 in the morning of Sunday, as the waves force was high with winds of 8 Beaufort force. Greek media took the first callings from passengers witnessing dramatic moments. One of the passenger said they were drowning as the ferry was covered in waters and it was dark. Some passengers were thrown into the sea in an attempt to be saved from the flames capturing 2/3 of the ferry.
“If we are not burned, will die of cold” “We broke the windows because we couldn’t breathe”, “We are getting burned, pray for us”, “It smells smoke in the ferry cabins. It has many children and elderly. We stay close to each other to keep warm” these were some of the sentences articulated from the phone by the passengers in Greek media.
In the evening, 6 Albanian citizens were rescued, 3 members of the Aliko family and 3 members of the Zhuri family. The ferry was about 13 miles away from Vjose River’ estuary and the situation was critical, as the vessel was out of control. So far, the reporting indicate 130 persons rescued, by specifying that only 35 people have made it to get in life boats carrying 150 passengers, into a cargo ship nearby, “Spirits of Piraeus”. Meanwhile, 7 rescue ships from Greece and Italy are found on the place, but they cannot rescue any passengers because of high waves. There is no information for victims up to this point.
“We are actively participating with military and other means. There have been evacuated over 100 people until now. There has been maximum help”- declared Dionis Andoni, head of Vlore Port State Control. Meanwhile, Pope Francis has prayed today for passengers rescue from the “Norman Atlantic” ferry, together with Greece Italy and Albania, which are praying for the rescue of their nationals.
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