290 people rescued as Greece-to-Italy ferry burns at sea

239 passengers and 51 crew members were rescued from a Euroferry Olympia ferry sailing from Igoumenitsa in western Greece, to the Italian port of Brindisi today Friday after the fire broke out on the vessel near Corfu, Greece.

Most of the ferry‘s passengers were transferred onto a rescue vessel which took them to the island of Corfu. 

The rescue operation involved at least three coastguard vessels and one Italian financial-police boat. 

The cause of the fire was not immediately known. 

Footage uploaded to social media shows the 183-meter (600 foot) Italian-flagged ferry engulfed in flames. The Mayday distress call was blasting from speakers as smoke billowed up from the vessel. 

There have been no immediate reports of deaths or severe injuries, although one person was taken to hospital after reporting breathing difficulties.

Grimaldi Lines spokesman Paul Kyprianou said that the cause of the fire was under investigation.

“Damage is severe because despite the efforts the crew was unable to extinguish the fire,” he said.

Passengers praised the crew for waking them and getting them out of harm’s way.

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