190 still trapped on Greek ferry as 49 reach land

Passengers Rescued from Burning Greek Ferry


BARI, Italy (AP) - A cargo ship with 49 people evacuated from a Greek ferry that caught fire in the Adriatic Sea arrived in the Italian port of Bari on Monday, the first big group to reach land. Nearly 200 more people remained trapped on the smoke-filled vessel adrift in rough seas between Italy and Albania.

One person was killed in the risky rescue operation and two others were injured as Italian and Greek navy and coast guard ships and helicopters plucked passengers off the stricken vessel and brought them to safety aboard the 10 or so mercantile ships nearby.

One of them, the Spirit of Piraeus, docked in Bari just after 0630 GMT Monday with 49 survivors aboard. Passengers and crew watched from the decks loaded with cargo containers as TV crews and relatives gathered on the docks below. Doctors boarded the ship to check the passengers, who included four children.

The ship came ashore after first trying to dock overnight down the coast in Brindisi. Rough seas forced a change in plans.

The fire broke out before dawn Sunday on a car deck of the Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic, carrying 422 passengers and 56 crew members. All day and night, passengers huddled on the vessel's upper decks, pelted by rain and hail and struggling to breathe through the thick smoke.

By early Monday, 316 people had been evacuated, leaving 161 more on board, Greek Merchant Marine Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said.

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190 still trapped on Greek ferry as 49 reach land
BRINDISI, ITALY - JANUARY 05: The burned-out ferry 'Norman Atlantic' stands moored in port on January 05, 2015 in Brindisi, Italy. Firemen and police investigators have so far been unable to gain access deep inside the vessel in the their search for more bodies as temperatures inside the hull from the fire that struck the ship remain too high. The Italian-owned ferry caught fire on December 28, 2014, on its journey from Patras in Greece to Ancona in Italy. At least 11 people are confirmed dead as a result of the blaze and 477 survived after being rescued by the Italian Coast Guard and Navy, though 19 passengers remain unaccounted for and are presumed to likely be dead and still inside the ship. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)
BRINDISI, ITALY - JANUARY 05: The burned-out ferry 'Norman Atlantic' stands moored in port on January 05, 2015 in Brindisi, Italy. Firemen and police investigators have so far been unable to gain access deep inside the vessel in the their search for more bodies as temperatures inside the hull from the fire that struck the ship remain too high. The Italian-owned ferry caught fire on December 28, 2014, on its journey from Patras in Greece to Ancona in Italy. At least 11 people are confirmed dead as a result of the blaze and 477 survived after being rescued by the Italian Coast Guard and Navy, though 19 passengers remain unaccounted for and are presumed to likely be dead and still inside the ship. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)
BRINDISI, ITALY - JANUARY 05: Smoke rises from the burned-out ferry 'Norman Atlantic' as it stands moored in port on January 05, 2015 in Brindisi, Italy. Firemen and police investigators have so far been unable to gain access deep inside the vessel in the their search for more bodies as temperatures inside the hull from the fire that struck the ship remain too high. The Italian-owned ferry caught fire on December 28, 2014, on its journey from Patras in Greece to Ancona in Italy. At least 11 people are confirmed dead as a result of the blaze and 477 survived after being rescued by the Italian Coast Guard and Navy, though 19 passengers remain unaccounted for and are presumed to likely be dead and still inside the ship. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)
A picture taken on January 3, 2015 at sunset shows Italian-owned Norman Atlantic ferry moored at the pier of Brindisi. Bari prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe ordered the Italian-owned vessel to be towed to Brindisi so that it can be searched for corpses and for clues as to what caused the huge fire that erupted on board on December 28. The fire led to the deaths of at least 13 people and there are fears the final toll could be higher amid uncertainty over how many people were actually on board. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
A survivor (L) of the 'Norman Atlantic' ferry hugs a relative after arriving at the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens on December 31, 2014. Two Albanian seamen were among 13 people confirmed killed in a ferry disaster in the Adriatic Sea on December 30, as officials warned the discovery of stowaways on board meant the true death toll could be far higher. Greek and Italian authorities were still unable to say with any certainty how many paying passengers were on board the Norman Atlantic when it burst into flames in stormy seas near the island of Corfu on December 28. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A survivor (C) of the ferry 'Norman Atlantic' hugs a relative after arriving at the International Airport 'Eleftherios Venizelos, in Athens on December 31, 2014. The death toll from a ferry disaster in the Adriatic Sea rose to 13, as fears mounted that the final count could be much higher. Uncertainty over the scale of the tragedy persisted with Greek and Italian authorities still unable to say with any certainty how many paying passengers were on board the Norman Atlantic when it burst into flames. AFP PHOTO / Angelos Tzortzinis (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
IGOUMENITSA, GREECE - DECEMBER 29: A container vessel named Cruise Europa carrying 69 people evacuated from a car ferry 'Norman Atlantic' which caught fire with some 480 people on board in the Adriatic Sea arrive in the Greek port of Igoumenitsa on December 29, 2014. (Photo by Athens News Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
IGOUMENITSA, GREECE - DECEMBER 29: A container vessel named Cruise Europa carrying 69 people evacuated from a car ferry 'Norman Atlantic' which caught fire with some 480 people on board in the Adriatic Sea arrive in the Greek port of Igoumenitsa on December 29, 2014. (Photo by Athens News Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A survivor of the ferry 'Norman Atlantic' reacts as she hugs her child after arriving at the Elefsina military airport in Athens on December 29, 2014. The death toll after a ferry caught fire in rough seas in the Adriatic rose to ten on December 29 with dozens of passengers still unaccounted for. It was unclear whether the missing passengers had drowned or otherwise died unnoticed or whether the ill-fated Norman Atlantic's manifest lists were inaccurate. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A survivor of the ferry 'Norman Atlantic' reacts as she hugs her children after arriving at the Elefsina military airport in Athens on December 29, 2014. The death toll after a ferry caught fire in rough seas in the Adriatic rose to ten on December 29 with dozens of passengers still unaccounted for. It was unclear whether the missing passengers had drowned or otherwise died unnoticed or whether the ill-fated Norman Atlantic's manifest lists were inaccurate. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
IGOUMENITSA, GREECE - DECEMBER 29: A container vessel named Cruise Europa carrying 69 people evacuated from a car ferry 'Norman Atlantic' which caught fire with some 480 people on board in the Adriatic Sea arrive in the Greek port of Igoumenitsa on December 29, 2014. (Photo by Athens News Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
IGOUMENITSA, GREECE - DECEMBER 29: A container vessel named Cruise Europa carrying 69 people evacuated from a car ferry 'Norman Atlantic' which caught fire with some 480 people on board in the Adriatic Sea arrive in the Greek port of Igoumenitsa on December 29, 2014. (Photo by Athens News Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
IGOUMENITSA, GREECE - DECEMBER 29: A container vessel named Cruise Europa carrying 69 people evacuated from a car ferry 'Norman Atlantic' which caught fire with some 480 people on board in the Adriatic Sea arrive in the Greek port of Igoumenitsa on December 29, 2014. (Photo by Athens News Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
IGOUMENITSA, GREECE - DECEMBER 29: A container vessel named Cruise Europa carrying 69 people evacuated from a car ferry 'Norman Atlantic' which caught fire with some 480 people on board in the Adriatic Sea arrive in the Greek port of Igoumenitsa on December 29, 2014. (Photo by Athens News Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
IGOUMENITSA, GREECE - DECEMBER 29: A container vessel named Cruise Europa carrying 69 people evacuated from a car ferry 'Norman Atlantic' which caught fire with some 480 people on board in the Adriatic Sea arrive in the Greek port of Igoumenitsa on December 29, 2014. (Photo by Athens News Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A survivor of the ferry 'Norman Atlantic' hugs a friend after arriving at the Elefsina military airport in Athens on December 29, 2014. The death toll after a ferry caught fire in rough seas in the Adriatic rose to ten on December 29 with dozens of passengers still unaccounted for. It was unclear whether the missing passengers had drowned or otherwise died unnoticed or whether the ill-fated Norman Atlantic's manifest lists were inaccurate. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
IGOUMENITSA, GREECE - DECEMBER 29: A container vessel named Cruise Europa carrying 69 people evacuated from the car ferry 'Norman Atlantic' which caught fire with some 480 people on board in the Adriatic Sea have arrived in the Greek port of Igoumenitsa on December 29, 2014. (Photo by Athens News Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Survivors of the ferry 'Norman Atlantic' disembark from the ship 'Siprit of Piraeus' in the harbor of Bari, southern Italy on December 29, 2014. 49 survivors were evacuated from the burning ferry 'Norman Atlantic' on board the Singapore-flagged cargo container ship 'Siprit of Piraeus'. More than 140 shivering, exhausted and terrified passengers and crew remained stranded on a stricken car ferry that caught fire in the Adriatic Sea 30 hours earlier. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
An injured passenger arrives at the Antonio Perrino hospital in Brindisi, southern Italy, rescued from the burning ferry 'Norman Atlantic' adrift off the coast of Albania, on December 28, 2014. Rescuers battled in the dark to save more than 300 trapped passengers from a burning Italian ferry as coastguards reported the first death in the high-seas drama. The Greek maritime ministry said 268 of the passengers were Greek, with the crew made up of 22 Italians and 34 Greeks. But the rest of the passengers were made up of 54 Turks, 44 Italians, 22 Albanians, 18 Germans, 10 Swiss, nine French, and Russian, Austrian, British and Dutch nationals. AFP PHOTO/CARLO HERMANN (Photo credit should read CARLO HERMANN/AFP/Getty Images)
A rescued passenger arrives at the Antonio Perrino hospital in Brindisi, southern Italy, after being lifted off the burning ferry 'Norman Atlantic' adrift off the coast of Albania, on December 28, 2014. Rescuers battled in the dark to save more than 300 trapped passengers from a burning Italian ferry as coastguards reported the first death in the high-seas drama. The Greek maritime ministry said 268 of the passengers were Greek, with the crew made up of 22 Italians and 34 Greeks. But the rest of the passengers were made up of 54 Turks, 44 Italians, 22 Albanians, 18 Germans, 10 Swiss, nine French, and Russian, Austrian, British and Dutch nationals. AFP PHOTO/RENATO ESPOSITO (Photo credit should read RENATO ESPOSITO/AFP/Getty Images)
An injured passenger arrives at the Antonio Perrino hospital in Brindisi, southern Italy, rescued from the burning ferry 'Norman Atlantic' adrift off the coast of Albania, on December 28, 2014. Rescuers battled in the dark to save more than 300 trapped passengers from a burning Italian ferry as coastguards reported the first death in the high-seas drama. The Greek maritime ministry said 268 of the passengers were Greek, with the crew made up of 22 Italians and 34 Greeks. But the rest of the passengers were made up of 54 Turks, 44 Italians, 22 Albanians, 18 Germans, 10 Swiss, nine French, and Russian, Austrian, British and Dutch nationals. AFP PHOTO/RENATO ESPOSITO (Photo credit should read RENATO ESPOSITO/AFP/Getty Images)
An injured passenger arrives at the Antonio Perrino hospital in Brindisi, southern Italy, rescued from the burning ferry 'Norman Atlantic' adrift off the coast of Albania, on December 28, 2014. Rescuers battled in the dark to save more than 300 trapped passengers from a burning Italian ferry as coastguards reported the first death in the high-seas drama. The Greek maritime ministry said 268 of the passengers were Greek, with the crew made up of 22 Italians and 34 Greeks. But the rest of the passengers were made up of 54 Turks, 44 Italians, 22 Albanians, 18 Germans, 10 Swiss, nine French, and Russian, Austrian, British and Dutch nationals. AFP PHOTO/RENATO ESPOSITO (Photo credit should read RENATO ESPOSITO/AFP/Getty Images)
Medical staff address the media at the Antonio Perrino hospital in Brindisi, southern Italy, about rescue operations of burning ferry 'Norman Atlantic' adrift off Albania on December 28, 2014. Desperate passengers pleaded by mobile phone live on TV to be saved from a burning ferry adrift off Albania on Sunday as rescuers battled gale-force winds and billowing smoke to get to them. AFP PHOTO / CARLO HERMANN (Photo credit should read CARLO HERMANN/AFP/Getty Images)
A medical staff member (L) speaks with Italian Coast guards at the Antonio Perrino hospital in Brindisi, southern Italy, about rescue operations of burning ferry 'Norman Atlantic' adrift off Albania on December 28, 2014. Desperate passengers pleaded by mobile phone live on TV to be saved from a burning ferry adrift off Albania on Sunday as rescuers battled gale-force winds and billowing smoke to get to them. AFP PHOTO / CARLO HERMANN (Photo credit should read CARLO HERMANN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Helicopters rescued passengers throughout the night, completing 34 sorties with winds over 40 knots an hour, or 80 kilometers an hour.

"Notwithstanding the weather and the darkness, which is another factor, we persisted throughout the entire night," Italian coast guard Admiral Giovanni Pettorino told Sky TG24.

Those remaining on board were given thermal blankets and found places to wait protected from the elements "even if the conditions remain very difficult," Pettorino said.

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Winfield reported from Rome. Costas Kantouris in Thessaloniki, Greece; Derek Gatopoulos, Nicholas Paphitis, Demetris Nellas and Elena Becatoros in Athens, Greece; and Frances D'Emilio in Rome contributed.



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