A fire broke out on the car deck of a ferry carrying 466 people from Greece to Italy early Sunday, forcing authorities to order an evacuation.
Nearby ships have been instructed to take passengers and crew members from the ferry Norman Atlantic, west of the island of Corfu, said Merchant Marine Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis.
"This is a complicated rescue mission ... The visibility is poor and the weather conditionas are difficult, but we are confident because there are a good number of ships in the area,» Varvitsiotis said.
-Ships/helicopters/etc can't get close to the ferry due to the bad weather conditions
-The fire hasn't been extinguished and passengers from a nearby ship say they can see it
-It is unclear whether all the 150 passengers from the one lifeboat that was dispatched have been collected or they only managed to get 35 people
-All the passengers are outside on the top deck (where it's raining/hailing/and strong winds are blowing)
-The rescue operation is officially under Italy's jurisdiction but it's a joint operation
-Meteorologists are predicting the weather conditions will improve toward the evening
According to Greek news stations (which are taking calls from passengers on board) as of 9:00 PM EET:
-165 out of the 478 passengers have been rescued
-All the children have been rescued
-1 man is dead
-Alleged disagreements between Greece and Italy whether the boat should be towed to Albania or Italy
-Passengers are getting panicked saying the media is lying and nothing is being done fast enough, they're afraid they'll burn alive and they want to jump ship
-Allegedly the fire is partially controlled
-The operations will continue throughout the night
Source: ekathemerini + reuters @ yt