Swiss resident among Greek ferry victims

Swiss resident among Greek ferry victims
Survivors journey back to dry land on a rescue ship. Photo: Filippe Monteforte/AFP
Greek media has named the first fatality of the ferry disaster in Greece as Giorgos Doulis, a Greek man who had lived in Switzerland for 40 years.

Doulis, who lived in Zurich, had returned to his native country for the first time in many years, according to Swiss newspaper 24 Heures, and was on board the Norman Atlantic ferry when it caught fire on Sunday morning.

Speaking to the media from a hospital in Italy, his wife Theodora said:  “When we came to get on a life-raft to escape the ferry on fire, we fell. With the waves, the wind, the smoke, we couldn’t get ourselves out of the water, where we stayed for more than four hours.”

The death of Mr Doulis has left the Greek community in Zurich in shock, said 24 Heures.

Father Simandirakis of the Greek orthodox church in Zurich called the victim “a model parishioner. A good man, always with a smile on his lips and nice things to say, head of his family, a hard-worker, honest, well-liked.”

The stricken ferry was on a night crossing from Greece to Italy when a fire broke out on the car deck on Sunday. 

During the 33-hour long rescue operation, which came to an end on Monday afternoon, survivors were winched off in pairs by helicopter after bad weather made other evacuation attempts impossible. 

On Sunday the authorities confirmed the presence of ten Swiss citizens on board, all of whom were eventually rescued.

Current estimates put the death toll at ten passengers, however some of the nearly 500 on board remain unaccounted for.

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