Hundreds Still Aboard Burning Ferry off the Coast of Greece

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(CNN)—One man died trying to escape a burning ferry in the Adriatic Sea on Sunday afternoon, and hundreds more were awaiting rescue as night fell on the beleaguered vessel.

Rescue crews worked into the night to airlift passengers by helicopter from the Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic, which caught on fire Sunday morning off the coast of Greece. By late Sunday evening, the Italian Navy confirmed that 190 people had been rescued, 287 were still on board and one person was dead.

The fire has been contained, but smoke and weather conditions hindered extracting passengers in metal baskets from the ferry. They are being transported to merchant ships and an Italian Navy transport dock, from where they will eventually continue on to the Italian port of Brindisi or hospitals.

Passengers suffering from smoke inhalation and hypothermia will be brought to hospitals in southern Italy, the Italian Coast Guard said.

With rescue efforts under way, the focus of Italian and Greek media is shifting to the cause of the blaze, which is believed to have started in the ship’s parking bay. At least one truck driver told the Greek news media that trucks filled with oil were “packed like sardines,” cargo scraping the ceiling, which could have set off sparks in rough seas to start a fire, he surmised.

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