BRINDISI, Italy - Italian prosecutors on Tuesday ordered a crippled Greek ferry back to Italy for a criminal investigation, saying they feared more bodies will be found given the likely presence of stowaways and huge discrepancies between the names on the manifest and those rescued.
The fire-tinged Norman Atlantic was adrift for a third day off the Albanian coast, where two sailors were killed earlier Tuesday when a tow line intended to secure the ferry to a tugboat apparently snapped, Albanian officials said.
The Italian coast guard said another body from the ferry was found Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 11. Three of the victims were Italian truck drivers who worked for the Naples-based Eurofish company and had gone to pick up eel shipments in Greece. The company was closed for the day in mourning.
More than 400 people were rescued from the ferry, most in daring nighttime helicopter sorties that persisted despite high winds and seas, after a fire broke out before dawn Sunday on a car deck. Both Italian and Greek authorities have announced criminal investigations into the cause of the blaze.
Italian prosecutors secured jurisdiction over the case from Albanian judicial authorities, citing the ship's Italian owner and Italian captain.
Bari prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe, who ordered the ferry back to the Italian port of Brindisi, said it was likely that other bodies will be found in the cargo areas of the ferry once searched, given that there was "incontrovertible" evidence that migrants were stowed away onboard.
"Our fear is that unfortunately once the wreck is recovered, we'll find other dead people on board," he said.
The search for possible missing people continued in the seas off Albania amid ongoing confusion over how many passengers were on board. The ferry company said there were 475 on board, but Volpe said there were at least 18 "overbookings" and an untold number of stowaways.
Greek authorities said the ship had a capacity of 499 passengers.