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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — More than 200 passengers and crew are still trapped on a burning ferry in rough seas between Italy and Albania, after enduring a second night of smoke, frigid temperatures and gale-force winds.
At least one person is dead and two are injured. The Italian navy says 251 of the 478 people on the ferry have been evacuated. Most were airlifted by helicopter to other merchant vessels nearby. Those left behind are huddled in the freezing cold on the vessel's upper decks, pelted by rain and hail and struggling to breathe through thick smoke.
The ferry was sailing from the Greek port of Patras to Ancona in Italy when fire broke out before dawn Sunday on a car deck of the Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic.
An Italian navy captain says, "Despite the smoke, the dark and the horrible conditions, rescue activities continued without stop throughout the night." A few of those rescued have been flown to hospitals to be treated for hypothermia.
Another large Italian navy ship with a helicopter landing pad is headed to the scene to help. And Greece's Merchant Marine minister says 10 merchant ships are helping rescue efforts.
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