One Dead, 1200+ Rescued from Ferry Fire off Egypt

By MarEx 2011-11-04 08:59:00

Passengers were sent into a panic when a ferry in the Red Sea travelling from Jordan to Egypt caught on fire on Thursday.  One man so far has died from the blaze.

Jordanian state news agency, Petra, reported that more than 1,246 passengers escaped the fire stricken Pella, leaving 27 people injured, and one man died from jumping into the ocean in an attempt to save his life.  His body was recovered by officials from the water and declared dead.

It is believed that the blaze broke out in the cargo section of the Pella, according to Jordanian Civil Defense spokesman, Farid al-Sharaa.

PHOTO: M/F Pella

The ferry heading from Jordan in the Red Sea was destined for arrival at the Egyptian port of Nuweiba.  Egyptian port official said that the ferry had travelled about 15 nautical miles from Aqaba when the ship caught fire, and that the rescued passengers were taken to Aqaba.

In response to the disaster, Egyptian naval and military aircrafts were launched to rescue the passengers, mainly comprised of Egyptian expatriate workers returning to their nation for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday starting on Sunday.  Military forces managed to extinguish the blaze. 

The Pella is owned by Arab Bridge Maritime Company, a joint venture between the Jordanian, Egyptian, and Iraqi governments.