Fire on an Italian ferry at the coasts of Greece

Szalai Nóri | 2014. 12. 29.

Összefoglaló a közelmúltban történt kompkatasztrófáról egy kis szövegértési feladattal. 

Fire on an Italian ferry at the coasts of Greece

Travelling on a ferry can be a pleasant experience for tourists or a just a routine trip made out of necessity but when ferries make headlines in the media it is usually bad news. Just like now, when last Sunday a fire broke out near the Greek island of Corfu on an Italian ferry carrying 478 people from the Greek city of Patras to Ancona in Italy. Most of the passengers were rescued but unfortunately eight people were killed in the accident. One of them died when trying to escape the ship. Strong winds and thick smoke made the rescue operation extremely difficult. Italian and Albanian teams were also taking part in the operation, which was complicated because of poor visibility and difficult weather conditions. People were taken off the ship individually by helicopter. An Italian Air Force helicopter pilot told Italian TV that smoke had filled his helicopter cabin, making the rescue even more challenging. Most of the rescued passengers were transferred to nearby ships, although some were taken directly to hospital. Three children and a pregnant woman were among those being treated in hospital. Many of the passengers spent hours exposed to the cold and stormy elements. Some of them took to lifeboats to escape the burning ship.

Passengers were panicking as the heat on the ferry rose, then freezing as they stood on decks awaiting rescue. Panic set in when the floor caught fire and the paint started bubbling. One of the passengers said that on the lower deck, where the lifeboats were, their shoes were starting to melt from the heat. The wife of one of the cooks told journalists she had had a call from her husband saying: “I cannot breathe, we are all going to burn like rats – God save us.”

Most of those on board were Greek. Others came from Italy, Turkey, Albania, Germany and many other countries.

While in another accident the captain and the crew of a South-Korean ship were the first to leave the ship, now the captain of the ferry was the last to be rescued, more than 36 hours after sending out an emergency signal. It is not clear yet what caused the fire to break out on the car deck of the ferry.

Ferries are an important mode of transport between Greece‘s hundreds of islands as well as neighbouring countries.

Source: BBC

Reading comprehension questions:

1. Where did the accident happen?

2. How many passengers were rescued?

3. Why was it difficult to rescue them?

4. How were the passengers rescued from the ship?

5. Where were they taken?

6. Why were passengers panicking?

7. What nationality were the passengers?

8. How long did the rescue operation take?

9. Who was the last to leave the ship?

10. What caused the fire?


1. On an Italian ferry, near the Greek island of Corfu.

2. All of them except eight.

3. The weather was bad, there were strong winds and it was difficult to see because of the smoke.

4. By helicopter but some of them used lifeboats.

5. Most of them to other ships nearby but some of them to hospital.

6. Because it was very hot on the ship and the floor caught fire.

7. Most of them were Greek but there were many other nationalities.

8. 36 hours.

9. The captain.

10. They don’t know yet.




to make headlines

bekerülni a főcímekbe

to rescue


to escape


poor visibility

rossz látási viszonyok




kihívást jelentő

to transfer



egyenesen, közvetlenül



to treat


to be exposed

kitéve lenni (valaminek)



to rise, rose, risen


to freeze

megfagyni, fagyoskodni



to set in


to bubble


to melt


to breathe


on board

a fedélzeten



emergency signal


to cause




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