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Norman Atlantic towed to Italy; 13 dead, number of missing still unclear

Six days after the marine tragedy of Norman Atlantic and the number of missing person still varies largely. According to Italian news network Tg5, while the prosecutor in Bari said on Friday that the missing were 90, Greeks put the number of missing at 18. “The same names are with different spelling more than once on the Italian lists,” Tg5 stated.

“Given that the ship was indisputably carrying illegal migrants who were probably hidden in the hold, we fear that we’ll find more dead people once we recover the wreck,” said Giuseppe Volpe, the Italian prosecutor leading the investigation, according to Reuters news agency.

Reports of how many passengers remain missing have varied greatly, as the ship’s official manifest was incorrect. The Greek Coast Guard said on Thursday that 18 remain unaccounted for, while Volpe said the number may be as high as 98.

The number of confirmed dead passengers is 11, while two Albanian sailors were killed, while helping tow the ship to the Italian coast.

Latest info 5:00 pm: According latest information from Italy, the number of people on board were 485 (passengers+crew), while the shipping company has give a list with 475 people.

In a huge rescue operation that lasted 36 hours, Italian and Greek rescue teams saved the lives of more than 400 people by lifting them with helicopters. Some passengers had managed to escape the flames on a life boat.  Italy says that 477 people have been rescued.

While some survivors told media, that the crew helped them, other complained that the crew gave them no instructions.

The ravaged Norman Atlantic has been towed to the port of Brindisi in South Italy,where authorities and prosecutors are going to take over investigation to uncover the causes of the fire but also inspect whether more bodies are trapped in the lower decks of the ferry. According to Greek media, unknown number of migrants but also truck drivers were sleeping in the car deck, when the fire broke out at 4:30 a.m. Sunday, December 28th 2014.

The probe into the disaster widened Friday.

In addition to the ship’s captain and the head of the company that built the ferry — both Italians — the prosecutor’s office in Bari put two other crew members and two representatives of the Greek ferry line Anek, which rented the Norman Atlantic, under investigation, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

 Relatives of missing Greeks

A group of relatives of ten missing Greeks is set to travel to Italy to seek information about their beloved ones. Saying that they felt abandoned by authorities and the shipping company, the relatives of the missing decided to launch their onw initiative to find out the whereabouts of the missing Greeks.

The son of one of the missing Greeks told private Skai TV this morning that they experienced the one cold shower after the other,  with the name of his father “appearing and again disappearing from the lists of the missing.”

The son said further that last time he spoke with his father was on Sunday after the fire had broken out. “We are burning, my boy,” the father, a truck driver told his son. There was no communication between the two after that.

The son said further, that the group of relatives is going to visit every hospital in Bari, Lecce and other small towns, as they have information that some survivors are seriously injured and their identification is not possible.

Other families said also that they were informed that their relatives were rescued or alive, but that these information was later taken back.

A macabre confusion occurred with a man recorded to be the first Greek dead. When his son flew to Italy to identify his father, the dead body belonged to somebody else.

Video from Norman Atlantic Deck

A new video from the upper deck of the Norman Atlantic shows passengers and crew patiently awaiting to be rescued. The people are wearing life vests, some are still in their pυjamas, some are wrapped in blankets. Some call the names of family members or friends.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

The video was shot by passenger Lefteris Arabatzis

norman atlantic

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