Athens, Dec 28: Athens, Dec 28: Rescue officials were racing against time to save hundreds who got trapped in a burning ferry adrift in the Adriatic Sea on Sunday. The rescue operators were facing serious challenge from adverse weather conditions.
Italian and Greek helicopters were pressed into action to lift the stranded passengers from the Italian-flagged vessel in pairs and transferring them to a nearby vessel.
There were yet no confirmed reports on the casualties and also different versions emerged on the number of people being rescued from the burning vessel. The ferry had almost 500 passengers and crew on board and it sent a distress signal early on Sunday after the fire broke out on its lower deck.
Greek authorities said 131 people were shifted to safer grounds while some other sources said the number was 150, said a Reuters report.
Sunday also saw an AirAsia flight vanishing after taking off from Indonesia for Singapore. The flight pilots had sought a change of course owing to bad weather and all contacts with the aircraft was lost thereafter. A search operation was launched to track the flight with 162 people on board. [Worst nightmare, says AirAsia CEO]