Athens, Dec 29 (IANS) The number of people evacuated from a burning Italian-flagged ferry on the Ionian Sea in western Greece reached 324 by Monday noon, the Greek Coast Guard said.
The rescue operation for the rest of the 478 people who were still on board the Norman Atlantic was continuing in adverse weather conditions, Xinhua cited Coast Guard spokesperson Nikos Lagadianos as telling the media during the latest press briefing.
The ferry, which was en route to Ancona in Italy from the Greek port of Patras, caught fire early Sunday while sailing off the coast of Corfu island of Greece.
The Greek shipping ministry and Greek Public Minister Vassilis Kikilias refused to confirm a report by Italian media that four bodies were traced at the site of the incident Monday.
So far it has been announced by both sides that only one Greek man died while trying to escape from the vessel.