Four Dutch on burning Italian ferry
More than 250 passengers are still awaiting rescue more than 24 hours after the outbreak of a fire on a ferry on the Adriatic Sea. The rescue services were working through the night, but the darkness and dense smoke hampered the work. There were 4 Dutch citizens on board the burning ferry.
The Italian Navy reported this morning that 221 people have been rescued, mostly by helicopters that worked through the night. 257 others are still aboard the ship. The Navy also stated that there are now doctors on board the ferry. The fire has since been brought under control. One man tried to escape the flames by jumping into the water. Greek Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis of Shipping announced last night that this man had died. The man's nationality is unknown. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hague announced on Sunday that one Dutch man had been brought to safety. The fate of the other three, two men and a woman, remains unknown. Two people were injured. They, along with 23 other people, including a pregnant woman and 5 children, were brought to the Italian mainland. Most rescued passengers have been taken in by cargo ships that were nearby. The rescue mission is made extremely difficult through strong winds, high waves and dense smoke. Italy is leading the rescue mission, with Greece and Albania participating. An Italian tugboat has attached itself to the ferry, to help cope with the wind. An Albanian tugboat is also trying to attach to the ferry, which is being driven towards the Albanian port of Durres by strong winds The port authority said that a second, more powerful tugboat is on its way to help. The tugboats will try to pull the ship towards the Albanian coast, De Telegraaf reports. The ferry was traveling from Patras in Greece to Ancona in Italy. In addition to the 422 passengers and 56 crew members, the ferry was also transporting more than 220 vehicles. According to Italian media, the fire broke out on the car deck and spread from there. The cause of the fire is still unknown. Greek media have since reported that the Norman Atlantic was "unsafe". A check on December 19th showed that there was not enough rescue equipment, emergency exits and evacuation signs were missing and the emergency lighting was not working properly. According to the ferry's owner however, the ship was approved and in perfect condition, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. "The inspectors had discovered a small defect in one of the fire doors, 112 on deck 5, where the fire originated according to our information. This defect was rectified immediately and the inspectors were satisfied, so the ship could sail." https://twitter.com/principalegg/status/549427962349903872 https://twitter.com/ItalianNavy/status/549307573158285312 http://youtu.be/CiNMEuLZPNU