7 Die In A Burning Ferry Off Greek Coast; All Others Are Now Safe

December 29, 2014

Update at 11:10 a.m. ET. Rescue Operations Over:

After a harrowing rescue operation that involved airlifting hundreds of passengers off a burning ferry off the coast of Greece, most are now safe.

The AP reports:

“Italian premier says evacuation of Greek ferry is complete, only captain and 4 rescuers remain.”

In the end, seven people died and more than 400 were rescued.

Our Original Post Continues:

Greek authorities say five people have now been found dead aboard a burning Italian ferry off the coast of Greece.

The AP reports that 391 passengers have been rescued, but as many as 87 are still on board.

Video from a rescue helicopter showed a harrowing scene: A huge black plume of smoke billowed from the vessel, as stranded passengers waited to be rescued on the deck of the ship.

The AP adds:

“The fire broke out on a car deck on board the Norman Atlantic before dawn Sunday as it sailed from Greece toward Italy.

“Earlier Monday, a group of 49 exhausted people arrived at the Italian port of Bari after they were rescued from a Greek ferry that caught fire in the Adriatic Sea. …

“At least one person was killed in the precarious rescue operation and two others were injured as Italian and Greek ships and helicopters worked through the night plucking passengers off the stricken vessel and bringing them to safety aboard the 10 or so mercantile boats nearby that were summoned to help.”

The New York Times reports that bad weather is hampering rescue operations. The paper adds:

“Helicopters redoubled their efforts after a navy ship with a helipad reached the ferry on Sunday evening. Another naval vessel was heading to the scene on Monday. An Italian coast guard official, Giovanni de Tullio, said on Italian television that stormy weather had been forecast.”

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