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12 people still missing after Greek ferry fire

CORFU, Greece (AP) — Rescue teams in Greece on Saturday searched for 12 people missing from a ferry that caught fire in the Ionian Sea as it headed for Italy and continued to burn for a second daytime.

After working through the night to put out the blaze, firefighting vessels surrounded the Euroferry Olympia, which was carrying more than 290 passengers and crew when the fire broke out on board on Friday.

The Greek Coast Guard and crews from other boats evacuated some 280 people to the Greek island of Corfu. Authorities increased the number of missing from 11 to 12 after discovering that one person on the ferry was not listed on the passenger manifest.

The ferry on fire in the Ionian Sea near the island of Corfu, Greece, Friday, February 18, 2022.

Lazos Mantikos/ per access point

“A very large rescue and firefighting effort is still ongoing, as is the search for the 12 missing people, including three Greeks, and our thoughts with all their families,” Transport Minister Giannis Plakiotakis told Skai private television.

The other missing passengers are believed to be mostly from Bulgaria. Officials said those rescued included citizens of Albania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Italy and Lithuania.

The fire started three hours after the ferry left the port of Igoumenitsa in northwestern Greece for the Italian port of Brindisi. The ship was carrying 153 trucks and 32 cars.

The cause of the fire was unclear. The Italian company that operated the ferry said the fire started in a slipway where vehicles were parked.

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