'Tell Me I'm Alive': Man Lost at Sea for Three Days Is Rescued

A man has been found alive on a ferry, which has been ablaze for three days, off the coast of Greece, authorities have said.

The man, a 21-year-old truck driver from Belarus, was found on the Euroferry Olympia on Sunday on the third day of a search-and-rescue operation.

As reported by the Agence France-Presse news agency, citing local media reports, rescuers spotted the man on the ferry as it was being towed to port in Corfu.

"Tell me I'm alive!" the 21-year-old is reported to have shouted to rescuers, according to the newspaper Proto Thema.

The truck driver then used a ladder to climb off the stricken ferry to a waiting tugboat. The man told Greek media that he was able to hear other voices on board the vessel, according to the BBC.

The Italian-flagged Euroferry Olympia caught fire 10 miles north of the island of Corfu at around 4:12 a.m local time while it was sailing from Igoumenitsa in Greece to Brindisi in Italy.

On Friday, the Grimaldi Group, the company which operates the Euroferry Olympia, announced that two other passengers who were stuck on the vessel had been rescued.

The two passengers, a Bulgarian and an Afghan citizen, were both safely evacuated and taken to a hospital in Corfu for a medical check-up.

"The management of the Grimaldi Group wishes to express its deep gratitude to all the Italian and Greek authorities involved in the rescue operations, in particular to the Italian Guardia di Finanza and the Greek Coast Guard for their prompt intervention," the ferry company said in a statement.

At least 11 people are still reported missing. According to the Grimaldi Group, there were 239 passengers of various nationalities on board the vessel, as well as 51 crew members.

The ship was also carrying 153 commercial vehicles, and 32 passenger vehicles.

There are no reported fuel spills or other types of environmental damage to the ocean as a result of the fire.

The evacuated passengers and crew were rescued by a vessel from Italy's Guardia di Finanza police unit and a boat from the Greek coast guard that were in the area.

Danilo Carlucci, one of the rescued passengers, spoke of the panic which took place on board the ship amid the huge blaze.

"We saw death in front of us," Carlucci told Reuters from Corfu.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, with indications that it started in the ship's hold.

"Damage is severe because despite their efforts the crew was unable to extinguish the fire," Paul Kyprianou, a spokesman with Grimaldi Lines, told Reuters.

The Grimaldi Group has been contacted for comment.

Euroferry Olympia rescue
Firefighting vessels work to estinguish a fire onboard the Italian-flagged ferry Euroferry Olympia, off the Greek Ionian island of Corfu on February 19, 2022. VOULA PAPPA/IN TIME NEWS/IN TIME NEWS/AFP/Getty Images