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Ferry fire: Missing Euroferry Olympia passenger found alive off Corfu

The burning ferry Euroferry Olympia, 19 February

Image source, EPA

One of the passengers missing aboard a ferry that caught fire near Greece on Friday has been found alive, authorities say.

The man was spotted on the stern of the ship and made contact with rescuers, a shipping official said.

Greek television footage showed a man climbing down a stepladder from the ferry on to a tugboat.

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Eleven people remain missing, while more than 270 were rescued and taken to the island of Corfu.

The Italian-flagged Euroferry Olympia caught fire en route to the Italian port of Brindisi.

The cause of the blaze is still being investigated and the captain and two engineers were briefly detained to testify before being released.

Small fires continued to burn inside the vessel on Sunday after it was towed to a secure area north of Corfu, Greek news site Kathimerini reports.

Those people missing are all thought to be lorry drivers from Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey and Lithuania, Greek authorities said earlier.

The Euroferry Olympia had left Igoumenitsa in Greece for Brindisi when the fire broke out on a car deck.

It was officially carrying 239 passengers and 51 crew, according to the company. But two Afghan nationals who were not registered as passengers on the ship were also rescued on Friday, the Greek coastguard told AFP news agency.

Dozens of people rescued from the ferry were taken to a hotel on Corfu. One of them, lorry driver Danilo Carlucci, told Reuters: “We saw death in front of us.”

It is thought that the drivers may have chosen to sleep in their vehicles rather than the ship’s overcrowded cabins, according to truckers interviewed by Greek state TV on Saturday.

Drivers and relatives of the missing people have criticised conditions on the Euroferry Olympia in interviews with Greek media.

The ferry’s operator said the 27-year-old vessel had last completed a safety check on Wednesday.

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