December 28, 2014
On December 28, the Italian-owned and operated by ANEK LINES ,car ferry Norman Atlantic had just left a Greek port with 487 passengers, and 12 crew aboard, bound for Southern Italy, when a fire broke out on the car deck. The flames spread quickly, the heat and smoke chasing those aboard outside into howling winds and rain. Eventually, more than 400 people were rescued, most in daring, nighttime helicopter sorties that persisted despite high winds and seas. At least 13 people are known to have died in the incident, and there are fears the final toll could be higher amid uncertainty over how many people were actually on board. The still-smoldering Norman Atlantic was towed to Brindisi harbor and authorities are now in their third day of investigations. The photos here show views of the disaster from rescue crews and from passengers aboard the vessel during the fire, as well as friends and family greeting survivors.