UPDATE: 1:38 PM EST:
According to the Associated Press, Italian authorities say the death toll in the Greek ferry fire has risen to eight.
All 473 passengers have now been rescued from the blazing ferry fire that happened Sunday in the Adriatic Sea, leaving a total of five people dead.
The Norman Atlantic ferry was making its way from Greece to Ancona along the east coast of Italy when the blaze broke out. One man died after jumping off the ferry, another was found dead in a lifeboat chute. It is currently unknown how the other three victims died.
A rescue team worked through the night amid treacherous weather to rescue the rest of the passengers. Officials confirmed Monday morning that all passengers were accounted for, while nine crew members remained on board.
Italian and Greek helicopter crews using night vision equipment worked through the night, battling winds gusting up to 40 knots (75km/h; 46mph) to rescue those on the stricken vessel. Those still on the 26,900-ton Norman Atlantic were thought to include at least two Britons.
Passengers gave reporters first-hand accounts of the fire.
Susan Daltas, who lives in Corfu, said her daughter Mia and two granddaughters had been rescued but, she told the BBC, her son-in-law Marcus had remained behind on the Norman Atlantic.
She said her youngest granddaughter had been taken to a mainland hospital. “She was suffering from hypothermia because they didn’t even manage to get a coat out of the cabin before they had to go on deck.”
A Turkish man told reporters about his own rescue:
“I saw four dead people with my own eyes. I am quite sure. They were in front of me,” an unidentified Turkish passenger told Italian news agency Ansa.
The Turkish man was among 49 people brought ashore from a Greek container ship in the south-eastern Italian port of Bari. The ship was meant to have put in at Brindisi, further south. But the sea was so rough that the harbour pilot was unable to get on board and broke an arm trying to do so.
Doctors at the local hospital in Lecce told reporters the passengers are doing well. A pregnant woman, three children, and a few others who were hospitalized are also said to be in good condition. Many of the victims were treated for hypothermia, with some being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning and another woman receiving treatment for a fractured pelvis.
So far, it is unknown exactly how the fire broke out.
SOURCE: The Guardian | VIDEO CREDIT: News Inc.
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