The body of a man has been recovered from the still burning Euroferry Olympia, the Greek Fire Service reported early Sunday evening. The charred body was found in a truck on the second car deck of the ferry and has been identified by relatives, media report.
The body was transferred to the hospital on Corfu where it was identified by relatives. It reportedly belongs a 58-year-old man, one of the three missing Greek truck drivers.
According to media, the body is charred, however, it is not ruled out that the death may have been caused by smoke inhalation.
Meanwhile, the 21-year-old Belorussian truck driver who was evacuated on Sunday morning is recovering at the hospital of Corfu.
The man has told authorities that he was sleeping in his lorry when the fire broke out and stayed there for almost two days. His truck was on the second deck while the fire broke out between the 2nd and the 3rd deck.
He said that he left the vehicle when he realized that the conditions outside were improving and he managed to reach higher decks when he was located and evacuated by rescuers.
“The fact that this man succeeded, despite adverse conditions, to exit into the deck and alert the coast guard … gives us hope that there may be other (survivors),” coast guard spokesman Nikos Alexiou told state broadcaster ERT earlier.
The survivor told his rescuers he had heard other voices below deck.
Ten people are still missing, firefighters and rescuers continue their efforts.
The Italian-owned ferry, which was carrying more than 290 passengers and crew, as well as 153 trucks and 32 cars, caught fire on Friday, three hours after it left the northwestern Greek port of Igoumenitsa, on the mainland, bound for Brindisi, Italy.
More details on the Euroferry Olympia fire and the rescues here on KTG.
The ferry has been towed to the port of Kassiopi, in northeastern Corfu, by three tugboats. Firefighters were still battling the blaze, which, although confined in certain spaces, reignites from time to time, and thick smoke is hanging over the ship.
The extreme temperatures in some parts of the ship have impeded the rescuers, made up of the Greek fire service’s Disaster Management Unit and a team of rescuers from private operators, from searching the whole ship. The ferry is slightly listing from the tons of water poured into it, but authorities say it’s not in danger of capsizing, the AssociatedPress reported..
The Greek coast guard and other boats evacuated about 280 people to the nearby island of Corfu. One of two passengers rescued late on Friday wasn’t on the ship’s manifest and is, presumably, a migrant. The other person rescued Saturday, a 65-year-old Bulgarian truck driver, had respiratory problems and has been hooked to a ventilator in a Corfu hospital intensive care unit.
A Greek prosecutor on the island of Corfu has ordered an investigation into the cause of the fire. The Italy-based company that operates the ferry said the fire started in a hold where vehicles were parked.
The ship’s captain and two engineers were arrested Friday, but were released the same day, authorities said.
Officials said the people rescued from Euroferry Olympia included citizens of Albania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Italy, and Lithuania.
*thumbnail picture: Fire Service