ROME, December 29. /TASS/. The number of passengers evacuated from a burning ferry Norman Atlantic has reached 394, Italian coordinators of the rescue operation in the southern part of the Adriatic Sea said.
83 passengers remain on board a ship in distress which keeps drifting to Albania’s coast. Italian naval helicopters are making non-stop shuttle flights between the ferry and San Giorgio-class amphibious assault ship evacuating passengers. It is a matter of minutes in the salvation of people, as the ferry is developing a larger list and the smoke is filling all compartments.
New evidence is available about at least one more victim of the sea disaster, but local authorities did not confirm it officially yet.
The fire broke out on board ferry Norman Atlantic on Sunday morning, when the ship was sailing 40 nautical miles west of Greek island Corfu. The storm and squally winds made it impossible to take passengers and crewmembers off the ferry. They had to pass the last night on upper decks in cold weather.
Eight Italian helicopters and a Greek machine Super Puma are involved in the rescue. Two military transport jets C-130 which may join the rescue operation if the weather improves are on standby. The ferry losing a steering control is drifting about ten miles off Albania’s coast, civilian towboats and San Giorgio-class amphibious warfare ship with helicopters are convoying the ferry in its drifting.