ATHENS, Dec 28 – An Italian-flagged ferry carrying 466 passengers and crew caught fire while sailing from Greece to Italy, coastguard officials said on Sunday. The Norman Atlantic, sailing from Patras in western Greece to the Italian port of Ancona, was 33 nautical miles off the small island of Othonoi when it sent a distress signal, Greek coastguard officials said.
The fire broke out in the garage of the vessel, which can carry around 200 vehicles, just before 6.00 am. local time (0400 GMT). A helicopter and two rescue vessels were on their way to the area and a container ship was nearby. Strong winds were blowing in the area, the coastguard said.