ATHENS – Another body was discovered by a fire brigade disasters team (EMAK) on the burnt ship ‘Euroferry Olympia’ later on Thursday, bringing the total fire fatalities to 5 and leaving another 6 unaccounted for.
The body, burnt beyond recognition, was found at the third garage of the ferry where a fire broke out early on Friday (Feb. 18) while the ship was travelling from Igoumenitsa to Brindisi. The ship was carrying cars and trucks and was towed from NE of Erikoussa island to Astakos on the western coast of Greece.
The Italian-flagged Euroferry Olympia was carrying at least 292 passengers and crew when it caught fire Friday three hours out of the northwestern Greek port of Igoumenitsa. A total of 278 people were safely evacuated at sea. Another three people who had been trapped were rescued later, the body of a Greek trucker was found Sunday and 10 passengers remain unaccounted for.
The search resumed Wednesday after a delay of more than a day to tow the 183-meter (600 foot) vessel from the open sea off the island of Corfu to the harbor of Astakos on the mainland. This followed a request from the fire service to ensure the safety of rescuers operating amid high temperatures on the smoke-filled hulk.
A Greek prosecutor on Corfu has ordered an investigation into the cause of the fire. The Italian company that operated the ferry has said it started in a vehicle hold. The ship’s captain and two engineers were arrested last week but then released. Operations were set to continue Thursday.