98 missing from fire-stricken Norman Atlantic, prosecutor

Ferry towed to Albania not Brindisi. Two people being probed

31 December, 16:47

    (ANSAmed) - BARI, DECEMBER 31 - Bari prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe said Wednesday that 98 passengers of the Norman Atlantic ferry that caught fire on Sunday are still unaccounted for. Volpe added that helicopters and a merchant ship have brought 80 survivors to Greece in past few hours. A second merchant ship that came to the rescue has also not been heard from, he said. "Weather conditions won't allow for the ferry to be towed to Puglia, so it is moving towards Valona Bay in Albania," he added. The stricken ferry was originally to be towed to Brindisi as part of an investigation into the disaster. It is currently about ten miles off Valona, and if weather conditions allow it will be towed back to Brindisi as early as tonight in order to arrive on New Year's Day, authorities said.

    Bari prosecutor also said Wednesday he has interviewed all the members of the Norman Atlantic crew, including Captain Argilio Giacomazzi, as well as survivors who arrived Tuesday night in Brindisi aboard the Navy's San Giorgio ship. The prosecutor looking into the causes of a fatal fire on board the ferry that claimed up to 11 lives on Sunday said he has placed two people under investigation so far.

    "We are looking into other possible culprits," Volpe added. He would not disclose the contents of the captain's statement.

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