Dozens of passengers and crew members were on board of the Euroferry Olympia have been evacuated from the burning ship and are reportedly on lifeboats and coast guard vessels sailing to the island of Corfu short after 10 o’ clock Friday morning. There are currently reports of some 11 missing persons, however these reports are not officially confirmed, so far.. One person has been slightly injured after he inhaled smoke, he is currently at the hospital of Corfu.
+++ ERT reports at 10:50 a.m. that there are still two people trapped on the burning ferry and an operation to evacuate them is underway. According to initial reports, the two people are somewhere in the garage deck.
A total of 239 passengers and 51 crew members were on board, state broadcaster ERT reported citing the Greek Coast Guard. The majority of passengers and crew are Italian nationals, while there are 15 passengers and 7 crew members who are Greek nationals.
On board there were also families with children, among them a 2-month-old baby.
The ferry was sailing from the port of Igoumenitsa, western Greece, to Brindisi, Italy, when a fire broke out around 4:30 am. when the ferry was off the island of Erikousa, north of Corfu.
Rescue operation screenshot 11:00 am. via @MarineTraffic
Three tug boats of the Greek and two from Italian coast guard, ships of the Greek Navy and local fishing boats rushed on the spot and help with the evacuation when the ferry sent the “Mayday” distress signal.
Majority of passengers are Italian nationals, the regional governor told state-run news agency amna.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, an investigation is to begin soon, the Greek Coast Guard said.
A passenger told Skai TV that the fire spread very quickly, within 15 minutes. Evacuation lasted about one hour.
A truck driver told state broadcaster ERT that they were weaken up by the crew and ordered to move to the deck and then the evacuation operation started.
The man said that they were told that the fire started in one of the garage decks adding that he didn’t know whether truck drivers were sleeping down there.
Another truck driver said that they saw smoke coming from the garage deck and there was a black out on the ferry.
Transfer of the injured person to Corfu.
Citing a source form the coast guard, Skai TV reported that approximately 10 people are missing, However, there is no official confirmation, so far, as there has been no recounting yet.
Nikos Lagkadianos from the Coast Guard said that recounting and identification of passengers and crew will take place at round 11 a.m. when the evacuees have arrived at the port of Corfu.
Italian-flagged Euroferry Olympia of the Grimaldi Lines had departed short before 2 o’ clock early Friday morning.