Britons on board Greece blaze ferry

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Published: Sunday 28th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Two Britons are believed to have been aboard a stricken ferry that caught fire off the Greek island of Corfu, according to the UK’s ambassador to Greece.

Greek and Italian rescue helicopters and vessels have struggled to reach the ferry, battered by 55 mph winds that sent it up toward the strait between Italy and Albania. Nearby, merchant ships lined up to form a barrier to protect the ferry and facilitate rescue, said Italian Navy Captain Riccardo Rizzotto.

The fire broke out on the car deck of the Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic, travelling from the Greek port of Patras to Ancona, Italy, with 422 passengers and 56 crew on board.

“We understand from the passenger manifest that 2 British nationals are believed to be on board,” British Ambassador to Greece John Kittmer said on Twitter.

“We are in close contact with the Greek authorities and are urgently seeking more information …

“We understand that the Greek authorities are working with the Italians, who are leading the rescue effort.”

No one has been reported injured, and 117 people have been transported to safety – eight airlifted to southern Italy and the rest taken to nearby ships, said Greek Merchant Marine spokesman Nikos Lagadianos.

But high seas have hampered rescue efforts, and at one point strong winds forced helicopters to be grounded, authorities said.

Published: Sunday 28th December 2014 by The News Editor

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