Rescuers have completed the evacuation of a fire-stricken ferry off Greece’s Adriatic coast, hauling the last of 400 survivors to safety.
Ten people were killed in the disaster and many more are missing, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing the Italian coast guard.
The fire broke out on Sunday on a vehicle deck of the Norman Atlantic ferry which was carrying 478 passengers and crew and more than 200 vehicles.
Initial rescue efforts were hampered 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.
“It was hell,” DimitraTheodossiou, a Greek soprano opera singer, told Italy’s la Repubblica newspaper. She was evacuated by helicopter during the night.
“It was very cold, terribly cold. Nearby ships sprayed water from their hydrants (to fight the fire) and we were completely wet,” she said.
She was treated for a mild case of hypothermia at a hospital in Lecce, Italy, and later released.
The Italian captain, Argilio Giacomazzi, abandoned the ship once all others had been evacuated, Italian Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said.
Fifty-six crew members were evacuated, while 234 of those rescued were Greek, 54 Turkish, 22 Albanians and 22 Italians, Lupi said.
He would not confirm a report from Greece that there were 38 still missing.
“It’s absolutely premature” to say how many are missing, Lupi said.
Some of those rescued were not on the original ship’s manifest, and Italian authorities are looking for a definitive list of passengers to cross-check it with the names of the survivors, he said, adding that it was possible that there were illegal migrants aboard.
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