Freighter adrift in Aegean, motorist missing in river as cold front grips Greece

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ATHENS, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- A freighter was adrift in the rough waters of the Aegean Sea near the island of Alonissos on Monday, and a motorist went missing when his car was swept away by a river on Crete island, local authorities said, as a cold front kept battering Greece.

The freighter "Sea Beech" with a 26-member crew, which had set sail from Port Said, Egypt, bound for Istanbul, Turkey, was adrift after suffering engine failure, the Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

Greek Coast Guard vessels and tug boats were participating in an operation to tow the freighter to port, as winds reaching up to 6 on the Beaufort scale were slamming the region.

Wind velocity was reaching 10 on the Beaufort scale in other parts of the Aegean and most ferries remained docked at ports for the third consecutive day.

Meanwhile, on Crete on the outskirts of the city of Chania, a 61-year-old local farmer went missing after the car he was driving was swept away by an overflowing river.

A rescue operation was underway to locate him, while the fire brigade rescued two other people in the same region from the river, according to media reports.

On Feb. 17, four locals were found dead after their car was also swept away after torrential storms.

Crete was one of the regions of Greece seriously affected on Monday by the cold wave Oceanis that has been sweeping through the country since Friday evening.

A three-arch stone bridge classified as a modern monument spanning the Keritis River near Chania collapsed on Monday, according to AMNA.

The structure of the bridge that was constructed in 1908 had already been weakened by storms earlier this February, and it was cut in two by the force of the river's waters.

In other parts of the country, dozens of schools and roads remained closed on Monday in mountainous areas in northern and central Greece, while rainfalls and storms continued in the south.

The lowest temperature recorded on Monday was minus 14 degrees Celsius in Kozani, a city some 300 kilometers northwest of Athens, Greek meteorologists said. Enditem

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