Among the 288 passengers trapped aboard an Italian-flagged ferry that caught fire Friday en route to Italy were 24 Turkish nationals according to media reports. No casualties were reported although the Ihlas (IHA) news agency reported that a Turk national is missing.
Hayrullah Cetin, a Turk truck driver, was among the rescued passengers. Çetin told the Hürriyet newspaper that he was among the last passengers to board the ferry and I heard the evacuation call to two hours after the start of their journey. “We were directed to an evacuation area and the navy police came. After that we are taken in lifeboats and then to the island of Corfu,” he said. Çetin said he lost everything, including son passport.
Fahri Özgen, another Turkish passenger, said he was going to Italy on a business travel by car. He said there were 22 truck drivers from Turkey on board the ferry. “I saw people jump into the sea,” he recounted the moments of fire.
Cevdet Bilen, Turkish captain of a ship assisting evacuation efforts, said they were looking for people presumed missing in the area. “We don’t know whether they are on the ship or have jumped into the sea,” he said. Bilen said thaton told them that the 22 Turks truck drivers were evacuated to the island of Corfu.