Charred body discovered on board Norman Atlantic wreck

norman_nightA charred body was discovered on Monday on board the burned-out Norman Atlantic ferry, bringing to 10 the death toll of ascertained victims perished when a ferry caught fire in the Mediterranean last year, local reports said.

The body was found by firefighters who were inspecting the wreck docked at the port of Brindisi, in southern Italy, and later transported to the nearby city of Bari for autopsy.

The Italian-flagged ferry, chartered by Greek shipping firm ANEK Lines, caught fire off the Greek island of Corfu on Dec. 28 while sailing from western Greece to Italy with nearly 500 people onboard.

High-sea rescue efforts were huge. A 36-hour-long salvage operation was carried out by Italy’s navy in cooperation with Greece, in order to evacuate passengers amid stormy seas and gale-force winds.

At least 10 people were killed. Monday’s body was the only one discovered inside the ferry as the other nine were found dead at sea, la Repubblica national newspaper noted.

Eighteen passengers are believed to be still missing based on the ferry’s boarding list, but the exact number of the missing remains unclear.

Authorities believe an undetermined number of illegal migrants might have been on board the Norman Atlantic, thus more victims could be trapped in the wreck, ANSA news agency said.

The captain of the ferry, Argilio Giacomazzi, and the Italian owner, Carlo Visentini, have been charged with shipwreck, multiple manslaughter and negligent injury.

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