Ferry Stricken by Blaze Fully Evacuated, 10 Dead

(Reuters) -

Rescue teams evacuated more than 400 people from a car ferry that caught fire off Greece’s Adriatic coast in a 36-hour operation on roiling seas, but 10 people were killed in the disaster.

Italian and Greek authorities continued an air search of the sea around the vessel while they sought to verify the number of passengers who had been on board, fearing that many people could be missing.

The fire broke out on Sunday on a vehicle deck of the Norman Atlantic ferry, whose manifest said should be carrying 478 passengers and crew and more than 200 vehicles. Rescue efforts were complicated by bad weather.

Italian and Greek helicopters began airlifting passengers from the upper deck as the ferry drifted in rough seas between Greece and Italy on Sunday afternoon and continued throughout the night. Ten people aboard the ferry were killed, the Italian coastguard said.

Fifty-six crew members were evacuated, while 234 of those rescued were Greek, 54 Turkish, 22 Albanians and 22 Italians, Lupi said.