Hundreds Rescued From Ferry Inferno in Greece

Hundreds of people were rescued from a ferry traveling from Igoumenitsa, the largest port in western Greece, to the Italian port of Brindisi on Friday after it caught fire.

Some 239 passengers and 51 crew members were on onboard the Euroferry Olympia when the blaze occurred, the Coast Guard said. Most of the passengers were transferred onto a rescue vessel which took them to the island of Corfu.

The rescue operation involved at least three coastguard vessels and one Italian financial-police boat.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Footage uploaded to social media shows the 183-meter (600 foot) Italian-flagged ferry engulfed in flames. The Mayday distress call was blasting from speakers as smoke billowed up from the vessel.

There have been no immediate reports of deaths or severe injuries, although one person was taken to hospital after reporting breathing difficulties, according to the Athens News Agency.

Grimaldi Lines spokesman Paul Kyprianou told Reuters that the cause of the fire was under investigation.

“Damage is severe because despite the efforts the crew was unable to extinguish the fire,” he said.

Passengers praised the crew for waking them and getting them out of harm’s way.

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