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Greece Confirms First Casualty on Fire-Stricken Ferry

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One body recovered. 10 people still missing following the fire on the ferry off Corfu, Greece. Credit: AMNA

Rescue teams in Greece recovered the body of a man on the “Euroferry Olympia”, the first confirmed casualty of the devasting fire that enveloped the ferry off Corfu in the early hours of Friday.

The emergency services are trying to find 10 persons who are still missing but have been hampered by the very high temperatures aboard the ship.

Earlier, a truck driver from Belarus was found alive more than 48 hours since the fire broke out.

Members of the Fire Service’s special Disaster Management Unit were able to locate the man who was seen moving near the stern of the ship. He was unharmed.

Greek television footage showed a man climbing down a stepladder from the vessel onto a tugboat tied to it.

Fire-stricken ferry is moored by a tug boat

The ferry is already moored by a tug boat and is no longer in danger of being dragged and stranded in the shallows, or colliding with another ship, authorities in Greece say.

Firefighters were trying to put out the fire operating from onboard the tug boats, and from the fire brigade’s firefighting vessel.

The Greek Navy’s ‘Hydra’ frigate, a firefighting vessel, one lifeboat, an anti-marine pollution vessel of the Hellenic Coast Guard, six tugs boats, and two more helper ships were all close to the ferry, while three helicopters (Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard) were flying alternately to assist the operation.

Meanwhile, a 14-people-strong team of specialized MEGATUGS and SMIT Salvage lifeguards were also assisting in the search and rescue mission.

Investigation on the cause of the fire begins

As soon as the fire is put out and the missing persons are located, rescue crews will pump out the remaining oil from the ship in order to neutralize the risk of marine pollution.

When feasible, the ferry will be towed to a safe port in accordance with the instructions of the ship-owning company and after consultation with the relevant authorities.

At the same time, a team of the Hellenic Bureau for Marine Casualties Investigation (HBMCI) is already at the island of Corfu to investigate the causes of the fire, in collaboration with the relevant Italian authority ‘Direzione Generale Investigation Ferroviarie e Maritime (DIGIFEMA).

The families of the three missing Greek nationals are also at Corfu, accompanied by a Hellenic Coast Guard officer/psychologist, by order of Shipping & Island Policy Minister Giannis Plakiotakis.


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