It was the end of a journey from hell. Passengers on a stricken Italian ferry thought they might never live to see it towed to safety. The ‘Florio’ was on its way from Palermo to Naples when a fire broke out, plunging the boat into darkness. It drifted helplessly for four hours before the crew managed to restore electricity and re-start the engine. Powerful winds and high waves made an immediate rescue impossible.
“We looked death in the face,” one woman cried. “We were lying flat on the bridge and the water was coming in.” “The chairs were flying around and everything was broken,” another passenger exclaimed. “A nightmare, a nightmare. It was like a film,” added one man. An Italian-style Titanic may have been averted, but port authorities have nonetheless opened a probe. Investigators suspect a collision between loose vehicles on the car deck could have caused the incident.