"Tell me I'm alive!"

While the fire has been raging since Friday morning on the Italian company Grimaldi ferry, one of the twelve truck drivers missing on board was found alive and evacuated by Greek rescuers.

They had previously detected its presence while the boat was being towed less than 3 km from Corfu.

They were able to return to the ferry to rescue him and evacuate him with a ladder, according to Greek authorities.

Dressed in shorts and a black T-shirt, he made his way down the ladder on his own to the rescuers' boat and appeared to be in good health, according to images from the Iefimerida website.

The young man, aged 21 and who declared to be from Belarus.

The ship, en route to Brindisi in Italy, caught fire at dawn on Friday, two hours after leaving the Greek port of Igoumenitsa, with 290 people, including 51 crew members, registered on board.

So far, 279 people identified have been rescued, as well as two illegal Afghan migrants, raising fears of more missing, migrants often boarding illegally on ferries linking Greece to Italy.

The eleven reported missing are all truck drivers, seven from Bulgaria, three from Greece and one from Turkey, the Greek coast guard said.

Voices heard Saturday night

Rescuers hope that the rescued passenger will be able to give information on the other missing persons, who could be prisoners on the ferry, from which thick smoke still escapes on Sunday.

The young survivor told rescuers that he heard voices on the boat on Saturday evening, according to the ERT television channel.

“I managed to get down to the basement of the boat.

I was in my cabin.

I went down to the last basement.

I heard voices.

I didn't see the others,” the survivor told Iefimerida.

The authorities are "optimistic, given that this man managed to get back on deck in these conditions", said Nikos Alexiou, spokesman for the coast guard on ERT.

First aid was given to the survivor, who must be transported by ambulance to the port of Corfu.

About forty firefighters are still mobilized on Sunday to participate in the rescue, according to the Greek fire service.

The ship in a “pitiful state”

The investigation by the Greek Maritime Accident Service has only just begun.

But the fire could have started from a truck parked in the holds, according to several concordant declarations.

However, several truck drivers reported to ERT on Saturday that they preferred to sleep in their truck than in the crowded cabins of the ferries.

“As far as I know, my father slept in the truck.

The boat was in a pitiful state in every way,” said Ilias Gerontidakis, the son of a missing Greek.

With 50 cabins for 150 trucks, “there were not enough cabins (…) we had to sleep four per cabin” and “there were bed bugs, it was dirty, without a security system”, has reported this man, himself a truck driver, on the Proto Thema newspaper website.

In accordance with international law, the ferry, built in 1995, had undergone a control visit which "resulted in a positive result" on February 16, said the Grimaldi group.

On Saturday evening, Italy announced that its coast guards, already in the area with anti-pollution means, had spotted "a possible slick" near the burning boat, which left with 800 m3 of fuel oil and 23 tonnes of " corrosive hazardous products”.

Friday evening, two passengers, prisoners in the vehicle hold, were able to be evacuated after more than ten hours in thick smoke, before being hospitalized, according to the coast guard.

One of the two, a Bulgarian, has “very low oxygen saturation and was intubated” on Saturday, said Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister Velislava Petrova.

World

Greece: Twelve people still missing after the fire of an Italian ferry on Friday

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Reunion: oil slicks from a stranded ship

  • ferry

  • Fire

  • Rescue

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