288 people leap into lifeboats as terrifying fire engulfs holiday cruise ship

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Hundreds of people have piled into lifeboats after a horror fire set a holiday cruise ship alight.

Greek port police reported that the blaze broke out on an Italian-flagged leisure ship in the Mediterranean's Ionian Sea early on Friday morning.

Three tug boats and three patrol boats were said to have been dispatched to rescue escort off the Euroferry Olympia, with 288 people rescued as of 5am.

A report from Greek news site Protothema said the ship caught fire shortly after its departure from the port of Igoumenitsa on its way to Brindisi in southern Italy.

It is reported that the fire started in the garage of the vessel, while the boat has reportedly been completely burnt out.

A passenger told Greek media that he was concerned that truck drivers had been sleeping in their vehicles, although no casualties have been reported.

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