ATHENS – Rescuers said Sunday that at least one person has been found dead on a ferry caught fire off the Greek island of Corfu on Friday, the first person is known to have died in the fire, though 10 others are still missing.
Hundreds of people were safely removed from the wrecked ship, the Italian-owned Euroferry Olympia carrying more than 290 passengers and crew members when the fire broke out hours after it left the port of Igoumenitsa , Northwest Greece, to Brindisi , Italy. There are also 153 trucks and 32 cars on board.
The dead man was found when rescuers opened the door to a lorry being carried on the ferry. Vassilis Vathrakoyiannis, a spokesman for the Greek fire agency, said: ‘He suffered burns to a large part of his body. The victim’s identity was not immediately released.
Earlier, a 21-year-old truck driver from Belarus became the latest passenger to be rescued from the ferry and search operations are continuing for 10 others who have yet to be notified, said Nikolaos Alexiou, spokesman. member of the Greek Coast Guard. .
Greek television showed Belarusians being rescued from a ferry and boarding a Coast Guard ship. He spent 53 hours in the cracked stern of the ship, and burns were visible on his legs as he got off the train in Corfu, he nodded as reporters shouted asking him if he was feeling well. .
Most of those on board were rescued by the Greek coast guard, with the support of Italian authorities, within the first few hours after the blaze broke out, with two people being taken off deck. top by helicopter. an activity posted on Greek news sites.
Coast Guard Mr. Alexiou said the fire was still burning and complicating rescue efforts on Sunday.
“It was a very difficult operation because the fire was still burning on the ship,” he noted. “There was a lot of smoke, it was dark and the temperature was extremely high.” He added that the 21-year-old Belarusian had some luck as he was trapped in the lowest garage, below sea level, where temperatures were colder.
Mr. Alexiou said Euroferry Olympia was secured by tugs off the northwest coast of Corfu, and emergency services were using water cannons to put out the fire.
The cause of the fire was still unknown as of Sunday. The ship’s captain and two engineers, owned by Italian company Grimaldi Lines, were briefly detained for questioning on Saturday as the investigation was underway.
Survivors described vivid scenes as the blaze raged in the pre-dawn darkness on Friday. A member of the crew, who was rescued by a fishing boat that was assisting in the rescue effort on Friday, said he had never experienced anything like it in his 26 years working on the ship. . “We heard one explosion after another as we ran through the corridors to save ourselves,” said crew member, Ilias Oikonomopoulos. a Greek news site.
“There were six screaming children on the train,” he added. “We didn’t know what to do.”
A passenger who said he was a truck driver from Bulgaria told Greek television he was given life jackets and jumped into the sea before climbing into one of the lifeboats.
“I have to get out of the car,” he said. “It was chaos.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/20/world/europe/corfu-ferry-fire-rescue.html Bodies pulled from burning ferry off Greece, with 10 still missing