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One Georgian missing after ferry catches fire

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, December 31
All Georgian citizens except Father Ilia Kartozia have reportedly been rescued from a ferry that caught fire in the Adriatic Sea, off the coast of Greece. According to official information, search efforts for Kartozia are still underway.

“We have managed to rescue all the Georgian citizens onboard except for Kartozia. All of them, fortunately, are in good health. We hope that we will soon find Father Ilia as well,” Georgia’s Ambassador to Italy told Rustavi 2 TV.

Reportedly, 8 citizens of Georgia, out of which one was a child and another a pregnant woman, were aboard the ship. Both of them have already been taken to hospital.

Ilia Kartozia, Head of David the Builder’s Monastery in Mtskheta, was among the passengers.

The cause of the fire has not been determined yet.

BBC informs that the death toll following the fire on the Norman Atlantic ferry off Corfu has risen to 10, with the evacuation of all those on board now complete.

The ferry company operating the journey from the Greek city of Patras to Ancona in Italy said a total of 478 people had been on the ship when it left.

Italian Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said that only 427 had been accounted for so far, but added that it was the responsibility of the port of departure to verify actual passenger numbers.

"That is why we are continuing our [search] effort: we cannot know what the exact number was," he told BBC.

More than 400 people were rescued amid gale-force winds and thick smoke.