Blaze-hit ferry death toll rises to eight

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Eight people died after a car ferry caught fire in the Adriatic Sea. Photo: Kris Aria/AFP
17:02 CET+01:00
Italy on Monday raised the confirmed death toll from a ferry fire disaster to eight and said it was seeking to account for more than 40 people thought to be aboard based on passenger and crew lists.

As well as recovering eight bodies, the Italian navy rescued 427 people from the stricken Norman Atlantic, Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti told a press conference.

Taken together that makes 435 people accounted for, compared with the total of 478 passengers and crew announced by Greek authorities on Sunday after the fire broke out and left the ferry drifting off Albania.

But Italian transport minister Maurizio Lupi said it was unclear whether the passenger list released by the Greek authorities was an accurate reflection of who was on board, particularly as the ferry had made a stopover on a Greek island before it ran into trouble on Sunday morning.

"There is a embarcation list on which the names of the 427 passengers and 56 crew appear," Lupi said.

"It is up to the departure port to match up their list and the people (rescued).

"That is why we are continuing our (search) effort: we cannot know what the exact number was."

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Italian navy chief of staff Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi said military planes were continuing to overfly the area around the ferry checking for bodies.

None of the statements made by survivors of the disaster have so far given any indication that as many as 40 passengers may have died.

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