Fire forces Italy ferry evacuation

Posted by Warren Fyfe on December 28, 2014 in Warren Fyfe Site

Ferry on firePassengers have made desperate calls for a speedy rescue

Ships and helicopters are taking part in a major rescue operation after an Italian ferry carrying 478 people caught fire around 40 nautical miles north-west of Corfu.

The Norman Atlantic was travelling from Patras in Greece to Ancona in Italy.

Choppy seas and strong winds are hampering the rescue. Early reports that it was tilting have been denied.

There are no reports of casualties. Greek and Italian officials say 131 people have been rescued.

Italian media say the fire broke out on the ferry’s car deck early on Sunday morning.

Around 35 passengers of those rescued were transferred to a nearby Greek ferry by lifeboat, Merchant Marine Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said.

“This is a complicated rescue mission… The visibility is poor and the weather conditions are difficult, but we are confident because there are a good number of ships in the area,” he said.


A life raft believed to be from the Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic after it caught fire in the Adriatic Sea.Some of the passengers were said to have taken to life boats

Passengers on life boatThose who have managed to leave the ferry face the double challenge of high winds and cold water

Italian and Albanian teams are also taking part in the rescue operation.

One of the passengers told Greek TV station Mega: “Our shoes started being submerged as we were in the reception area. We are burning and sinking with no-one able to rescue us. Please help us, do not leave us alone.”

Ferries are an important mode of transport between Greece’s hundreds of islands as well as neighbouring countries.

The Norman Atlantic (file pic)The Norman Atlantic is one of many ferries which ply the Greece-Italy route


Are you, or is someone you know, affected by this story? Do you know any of the passengers on the Greek ferry? You can email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk with any information. Please leave a telephone number if you are willing to be contacted by a BBC journalist.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30615721#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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