Soprano tells of ordeal on burning Greek ferry

Soprano tells of ordeal on burning Greek ferry


norman lebrecht

December 30, 2014

The Greek soprano, Dimitra Theodossiou, was discharged today from hospital in Lecce where she was taken by helicopter from the burning ferry, Norman Atlantic. At least 10 people died in the disaster. Dimitra describes scenes of total horror:

‘I had a berth in the first class, I was asleep and woke up to the smell of burning. There was smoke in the cabin. I got up, put on a sweater, took money and identity cards and ran out. I knocked on all the other cabin doors, shouting: get out, get out there is a fire!

There were men – Iraqis, Turks, Pakistanis – who were sent below to give priority to children, the elderly and to women, but they climbed back up and beat people, tugging, pulling them away, pushed their way to safety. I, too, was beaten, but I reacted to reach the helicopter, I got into a great rage, I thought : now or never.’

Read full interview here (in Italian).

dimitra theodossiou


  • sdReader says:

    Iraqis, Turks, Pakistanis beating women?

    Prima donna getting into a great rage?

    Sounds real enough.

  • Neil van der Linden says:

    Surprising highlight about the Iraqis, Turks and Pakistanis. Funny that in the middle of all the panic she was able to do a quick nationality check. Meanwhile giving way to the children and the elderly apparently is not an obligation for the first-class passengers. Already yesterday we understood that she was able to leave the boat in a quite early stage.

  • anon says:

    In twenty-first century Europe, gender equality is a fundamental principle: there is no good reason why women should /ipso facto/ be prioritised over men. With the possible exception of experienced cross-channel swimmers (of whom there would be very few, if any), any passenger, whether male or female (or otherwise), would be putting himself/herself at grave risk if he/she attempted to swim all the way to land.

    We can all rant about the virtues of chivalry from the safety of our armchairs, but the reality is that almost all of us would probably act selfishly, or to protect immediate family, when faced with a genuinely life-threatening situation. It is not really reasonable to judge people for this in the same way that we may pour scorn upon someone who refuses to give up their seat for an elderly/disabled/pregnant person on a crowded train…

  • Atko says:

    Slight exaggeration on her part I think. Good publicity for her – she must pay her agent well to be one of the first to get interviewed!