A middle-aged passenger fell overboard of Blue Star Naxos into the cold dark water while the ferryboat was approaching the island of Syros in the Cyclades, in Central Aegean Sea, on Tuesday night. His body was recovered two hours later. Eyewitnesses speak of suicide. Authorities investigate.
The man whose age is estimated to be around 60 was seen by at least two other passengers to have climbed on the railing and jump into the cold sea. The incident occurred short before 9 p.m. Tuesday, while the ferry was some 4 nautical miles off the coast of Syros.
According to eyewitnesses the man was determined to commit suicide.
A female passenger told media that she saw a man jumping into the sea.
Another passenger told local media naxotstimes that he was a middle-aged man standing outside the railings at a distance of some 20 meters away from him. “A woman shouted at him what are you doing?, I shouted at him. He was holding the railing. I run as fast as I could but he jumped before I managed to grab him. He fell while I was doing my last step to grab him and save him. I saw him falling…. He disappeared right in front of my eyes.” The eyewitness said that the man was wearing a brown plaid jacket and a black cap. “I saw him crashing into the sea, his cap floating…” the eyewitness said.
The passengers alerted the crew, the captain stopped the engines and informed the coast guard.
A big search and rescue operation with two coast guard boats, a private speedboat and another ferryboat a container and a tanker vessels as well as a Sikorsky helicopter nearby was launched.
Two hours later, coast guard boat spotted the body of the man floating.
The coast guard brought the body to the island of Syros, an autopsy is expected to take place on Wednesday.
Authorities have not made public the identity or nationality of the man, so far. According to a ferry passenger, the crew checked the passenger list with the passengers on board.
Local media note that authorities have not identified the man yet. The man was reportedly traveling alone without luggage, no personal items of his were found on the ferry. It seems that authorities identified a name on the passengers’ list, however, it is not clear whether this was the real name. No relatives have sought for him so far.
The ferry had left the port of Piraeus at 5:30 Tuesday afternoon with destination the islands of Syros, Paros, Naxos, Irakleia, Schinousa, Koufonisia and Katapola.