Travelling from Greece to Italy
AN INTERNATIONAL rescue effort was under way in high winds after a car ferry carrying 466 passengers and crew caught fire while sailing from Greece to Italy.
Passengers contacted Greek television stations to tell of the conditions on the ship which caught fire in the early hours of Sunday morning. The Norman Atlantic ship was sailing from Patras in western Greece to the eastern Italian city of Ancona.
One passenger said: "They tried to lower some boats, but not all of us could get in. There is no coordination.
"It's dark, the bottom of the vessel is on fire. We are on the bridge, we can see a boat approaching... we opened some boxes and got some life vests, we are trying to save ourselves."
Norman Atlantic ferry
It was unclear whether there had been any casualties or whether any passengers were in the water, where cold winter temperatures would make survival difficult unless rescue came quickly.
Officials said both Italian and Albanian authorities were taking part in the operation, which was being conducted in difficult conditions with strong winds.
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