Efforts continue to search for 12 missing persons after a ferry caught fire near the shores of the Greek island of Corfu.
All the missing are believed to be truck drivers from Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey and Lithuania, Greek authorities said.
The fire that caught the ferry on Friday was still burning after 24 hours, hampering rescue operations. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
A total of 280 people were evacuated and two were airlifted after the ferry caught fire.
The ferry, named “Yorfire Olympia” and owned by the Italian company Grimaldi Lines, had left the city of Igomantessa in Greece for the port of Brindisi in Italy when the fire broke out in the platform designated for wagons.
The ferry carried 239 passengers and 51 crew members, according to official information, according to the owner company, but two Afghan nationals who were not registered among the passengers were rescued, according to the coast guard, according to the AFP news agency.
The authorities gave details of 12 missing people, saying they were most likely truck drivers, seven of them from Bulgaria, three from Greece, one from Turkey and one from Lithuania.
It is believed that the missing were sleeping in their wagons rather than the crowded cabins of the ferry, according to drivers interviewed by Greek television.
A specialized rescue team managed to board the ferry 12 hours after the fire broke out, but it was still burning on Saturday morning, hampering rescue efforts.
Helicopters and ships have been sent to the area to help in the search, extinguish the fire and investigate the cause of the fire, said Greek Minister of Shipping Giannis Plakiotakis.
“Reader. Infuriatingly humble travel enthusiast. Extreme food scholar. Writer. Communicator.”