Twelve nonetheless lacking after blaze engulfs Greece ferry

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CORFU, GREECE —
Twelve individuals are nonetheless lacking after a blaze swept via a ferry crusing from Greece to Italy early on Friday, Greek authorities mentioned on Saturday, as firefighters battled for a second day to regulate the hearth and crews towed the vessel nearer to the shore.

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Reuters reside footage confirmed plumes of smoke pouring out of the Italian-flagged Euroferry Olympia as firefighters from a close-by vessel sprayed water onto the burning ferry within the Ionian Sea.

A complete of 241 passengers and 51 crew have been on board when the blaze broke out early on Friday and rescue vessels moved many of the 280 individuals who have been rescued to the close by island of Corfu.

The 183-metre (600-foot) ferry caught hearth en route from Igoumenitsa, a port in Western Greece, to the Italian port of Brindisi, a nine-hour journey.

The lacking passengers are from Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey and Lithuania, the Greek coastguard mentioned, and their kinfolk confronted an agonizing await information.

“I am very apprehensive, I do not know what’s going to occur,” Ilias Gerontidakis, the son of a lacking Greek truck driver, instructed state tv from Corfu.

Aerial footage launched by the Greek coastguard on Friday confirmed rows of burnt vans on the blackened deck after flames engulfed the ship, owned by Grimaldi Strains. The ferry was carrying 153 autos, the corporate mentioned.

As firefighters tried to chill scorching temperatures on the ship earlier than emergency crews boarded it to renew search operations, the blazing ferry was towed nearer to the shore for higher safety in opposition to opposed climate, Greek coastguard and hearth brigade officers mentioned.

Late on Friday, Greek crews rescued two individuals, a Bulgarian and an Afghan citizen, who was not on the official record of lacking individuals.

Bulgaria’s International Ministry mentioned 127 Bulgarians have been on board.

Most of these rescued have been taken to inns on Corfu, the place some recounted their ordeal. Learn full story

“I’ve been coming and going for therefore a few years, I’ve by no means skilled such a scenario earlier than,” Greek truck driver, Giorgos Parlatzas, 50, who was evacuated from the ship, mentioned from a Corfu lodge.

Consular workers from the passengers’ residence nations have been in Corfu to assist coordinate their protected return with the ferry firm, a Reuters witness mentioned.

A prosecutor has ordered an inquiry into the incident, the Greek coastguard mentioned, including that the captain and each first mates of the ship had been briefly detained to testify and have been later launched.

Authorities can have extra proof about the reason for the hearth as soon as the ship is tugged to a protected place, Transport Minister Giannis Plakiotakis instructed Skai tv.

(Writing by Angeliki KoutantouEditing by Helen Popper and Mark Potter)

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