11 missing, 2 trapped after fire breaks out on ferry off Greece’s Corfu island

Eleven people were missing and a rescue operation was underway for two persons trapped on a ferry which caught fire off Corfu island in western Greece, Greek authorities said on Friday.

A total of 278 people have been transferred in safety on Corfu, including a person which was not included in the official list of people onboard, according to an e-mailed press statement by the Greek Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy.

“According to the official lists the vessel’s captain had submitted to port authorities in Igoumenitsa before departure, there were 239 passengers and 51 crew members onboard the Euroferry Olympia,” Nikos Lagadianos, Greek Coast Guard senior official, told a press briefing at Piraeus.

The two trapped persons were lorry drivers, Greek national broadcaster ERT said.

Three people have been slightly injured, the director of Corfu hospital told ERT.

The Italian-flagged ferry of Grimaldi Group had departed from the Greek port of Igoumenitsa sailing towards Italy’s Brindisi, when the incident occurred under still unclear circumstances.

Nearby ships and Coast Guard vessels rushed in the area to collect people who evacuated the ferry in lifeboats.

No fuel spill has been detected at sea, nor does the stability of the ship appear to be compromised, according to a Grimaldi Group press release.

Tugboats were heading towards the Euroferry Olympia to manage the emergency, it added.

The vessel Euroferry Olympia was built in 1995.

“The top management of the Grimaldi Group expresses its regret for the incident and will fully cooperate with the competent authorities to shed light on the incident,” according to the press statement. ■

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