Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said on December 30 that a total of seven Bulgarian nationals were rescued from the Norman Atlantic ferryboat, which caught fire in the Adriatic Sea as it was sailing from the Greek port of Patras to the Italian port of Ancona on December 28.
One of the Bulgarians was being treated in a hospital in Brindisi, Italy, having sustained bone fractures in one of his arms, and the other six were expected to arrive on Italian soil on December 30, where they would be met by consular workers, the ministry said.
Earlier reports suggested that there could be as many 11 Bulgarians on board the boat, with the passenger manifesto listing nine and two more Bulgarians allegedly on board, according to relatives who got in touch with the ministry. It later emerged that the two people did not board the ship, while the passenger list handed by Italian authorities only showed seven Bulgarians on Norman Atlantic, the ministry said.
The death toll of the incident reached 10 people, with five more bodies recovered on December 29 after rescue operations concluded. It is unclear how many people may still be missing, as the ferryboat’s manifest reportedly listed 478 passengers and crew, while Italian authorities said that they rescued 427.
The cause of the fire was also yet to be determined, with reports saying that it started on the car deck and spread quickly. Italian prosecutors said they would launch an investigation once the ferryboat was tugged to an Italian port.
(Photo of Norman Atlantic rescue efforts by Italy’s Marina Militare, marina.difesa.it)