Greece-Italy Ferry with 290 people on Board Catches Fire

A fire broke out Friday on an Italian-flagged ferry sailing through the Ionian Sea, injuring one crew member and trapping two people on board, the Greek coastguard said, after rescuing passengers and crew members.

The coastguard said a total of 239 passengers and 51 crew members had been on board the Euroferry Olympia, and most of them had boarded rescue vessels bound to the port of the island of Corfu, where ambulances were waiting.

“The passengers were transferred safe and sound on rescue boats to Corfu,” Ionian Islands region governor Rodi Kratsa confirmed.

According to reports, the fire on the ‘Euroferry Olympia,’ which was heading to Italy from the Greek port city of Igoumenitsa, broke out at 4:30 am (0130 GMT). 

“Two people have been trapped in the garage, and efforts are being made to lead them to the deck,” one coastguard official said, adding that a helicopter was waiting to airlift them away.

The cause of the fire, which erupted off the island of Ereikousa between Greece and Albania, is still unknown.

Rescue operations involved the Greek coastguard patrol, towboats, a frigate, and two helicopters. 

Nikos Bardis, a local fisherman, said that several fishing boats were also circling the stricken vessel, looking for people in the water.

“We can hear explosions, it must be freight trucks blowing up,” Bardis said.

The last shipboard fire in the Adriatic was in December 2014 on the Italian ferry Norman Atlantic where 13 people died.


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