Third dead Greek in “Norman Atlantic. Crew ‘may have fled ship’… Norman Atlantic survivors speak of chaos and panic

norman3Greece’s Coast Guard has identified Nikolaos Paraschis as the third victim of last Sunday’s Norman Atlantic ferry disaster. His body was identified in Italy.

Meanwhile, an Aegean Air plane from Brindisi, carrying 107 Greeks rescued from the flaming ferry, landed at ‘Eleftherios Venizelos’ airport in Athens at 15:35.

Of these, 22 were taken to the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on another Aegean Air flight, two will be taken to Corfu, two to Rhodes, one to Iraklio and one to Chania.

The Greek foreign ministry has taken charge of repatriating the Greeks rescued from the fatal ferry, while the flight was carried out by Aegean free of charge.

Hellenic Coast Guard also announced the names of 9 missing Greek passengers.

Survivors of the Norman Atlantic ferry disaster described chaos, panic, and anger as they sought to escape the vessel after it burst into flames in stormy weather Sunday.

“It was panic because there were over 400 of us who were all supposed to use the same emergency exit,” Greek passenger Urania Thireou told AFP at a hotel in the Italian port city of Brindisi, after waiting 23 hours on the burning ship to be rescued.

“There were crew members around, but even they were panicked (because) it was impossible to organise so many people,” Thireou said.

She said her own salvation came from feeling “anger that gave me the force to stay alive.”

Thireou said the lack of coordination aboard in responding in the emergency early on was the most critical failing in the catastrophe, which as of Tuesday afternoon had claimed a provisional total of 13 lives.

“At the start, there were people who got into the biggest lifeboat,” she told AFP of the amorphous rushing of passengers. “They got it into the water, but we were told afterwards that they were not rescued.”

Crew members may have left

Crew members aboard the Italian ferry which caught fire at sea may have left the ship before its passengers, a British survivor has claimed.

Show-jumper Nick Channing-Williamssaid that when he and other passengers tried to connect tow ropes from a tug boat to the ferry, none of the crew could be found.

‘There were no crew members down there – it was just us,’ Mr Channing-Williams, who has now returned to his home in Berkshire, told the Times.

Looked death in the face

French passenger Philippe Moyses gave an equally emotional account of “terror” amid the disaster, during which he “looked death in the face” in a way that has deeply marked him.

“This morning I got up (after) sleeping like a log, I sat on the edge of the bed, and… I just started crying,” Moyses, a 62-year-old resident of Bordeaux, said from his hotel after being among the last passengers lifted by helicopter from the burning ferry.

AFP, The Times, Enikos, ANA-MPA

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