Briton terrified as flames engulfed ferry

2014-12-30 06:10
The ongoing rescuing operation of passengers by helicopter from the burned ferry ‘Norman Atlantic’ adrift in the Adriatic Sea off Albania. (Marina Militare, HO, AFP)

The ongoing rescuing operation of passengers by helicopter from the burned ferry ‘Norman Atlantic’ adrift in the Adriatic Sea off Albania. (Marina Militare, HO, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - A British man rescued from a burning ferry in the Mediterranean on Monday, his face covered in soot and grease, said he felt "terrified" and "helpless" as flames engulfed the ship.

At least eight people died after the Norman Atlantic car ferry with 478 passengers and crew caught fire off the coast of Albania.

Nick Channing-Williams, 37, who teaches horse jumping in Athens, said he was part of a group of crew members and passengers who had tried to link the ship to a tug boat in stormy seas.

"After the third time of the rope snapping on us, that was when we gave up," he told Sky News.

He said the group ended up spending the night trapped in a lower section of the ship, where the ropes were, because the fire had started again.

They eventually made their way up a rope to be airlifted out.

Asked to explain his blackened appearance he said: "I think it was more grease than soot."

"There were moments when I was absolutely terrified," he added.

"When the flames are licking up around the boat and there's no sign of help and they're talking about sending a boat that is four hours away, you feel somewhat helpless."

The evacuation was completed nearly 36 hours after the fire broke out on the car deck and left the huge vessel drifting dangerously in high seas.

Sent picture

Channing-Williams's mother Dottie said she barely recognised her son when she was sent a picture of him by an Italian air force captain, Paolo Papi, who was aiding the rescue effort.

"I couldn't believe it was him as his face was covered in soot and he was black. He also sent me an after shower picture and I could see it really was him," she told BBC radio.

Channing-Williams described first seeing the fire in the early hours of Sunday: "The flames were huge, all the cars were on fire."

"Everyone was in a queue to get on a lifeboat and with the heat just being so enormous people just panicked," he said.

"There was only one place you could stand - in the rain... In the evening it was even worse because the ship was tipping to one side," he said.

His Greek fiancée Regina was airlifted from the ship before him and the two were only reunited in an Italian hospital.

"It was quite an emotional reunion because we were separated for a few hours," he said.

Read more on:    italy  |  greece  |  maritime accidents

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.