June 27, 2022

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Greece Ferry: Eleven Missing As Hundreds Rescued Off Corfu

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Italian and Greek boats rushed to evacuate 290 people on board a ferry that burst into flames near Corfu in the Ionian Sea early on Friday.

The Greek coastguard said later that 11 people were missing and rescuers were trying to reach two people trapped on the Euroferry Olympia.

The ferry had left Igoumenitsa in Greece for the Italian port of Brindisi when fire broke out on a car deck.

The captain told everyone to leave and the ferry was engulfed in flames.

The Greek coastguard said 239 passengers and 51 crew had been on the ferry, owned by Italian firm Grimaldi Lines.

Italian officials said 277 of those on board were brought to safety and a Corfu hospital said five of them were being given treatment. Two people were trapped in the hold and a Greek Super Puma helicopter was sent to the area in an attempt to airlift them off the ship.

There was no word on the missing 11, but throughout the day officials have been trying to confirm how many people were able to leave the ferry when the order was given to abandon ship.

The ferry left the port of Igoumenitsa on the Greek west coast at about 01:50 (23:50GMT on Thursday). The fire was thought to have started on one of the car decks in the hold. The crew initially tried to put it out before the captain gave the order to abandon ship at around 04:20.

“Within an hour we had left the ship, we were saved by the crew,” one passenger told Greek TV.

Both passengers and crew boarded lifeboats near the island of Ereikousa before being picked up by ships in the area. A passing Italian customs ship was first on the scene.

Customs police said their patrol vessel Monte Sperone had rescued 243 of those on board.

The head of the Corfu rescue team, George Glykofrydis, told Greek TV it was impossible for his colleagues to get on to the ship while it was burning out of control.

Most of the passengers were Italian nationals, according to Ionian islands governor Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, while the crew were both Greek and Italian.

One passenger told Greek media that some people had been sleeping in their vehicles when the alarm was raised.

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