Italy: Nearly 100 Unaccounted for in Ferry Disaster
But records of passengers remain a confusing mess
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2014 2:21 PM CST
Survivors of the Norman Atlantic ferry fire step ashore in the port of Taranto, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014.   (AP Photo/Cosimo Calabrese)
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(Newser) – There are still 98 people unaccounted for in the Greek ferry disaster, according to an Italian prosecutor, but that number is really murky: As the AP reports, discrepancies in the ship's records and a chaotic rescue effort mean officials don't know whether these people ever boarded the Norman Atlantic, if they died in the fire that broke out aboard it or in the stormy seas that battered it, or if they were rescued by one of the many ships that responded. Complicating matters is the continuing stormy weather in the area, which is preventing both authorities from towing the ferry to Italy and any real investigation into what went wrong.

Without bringing the Norman Atlantic in, prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe says it's impossible "to see if there are bodies aboard ... to ascertain what caused the fire and to see if safety measures were respected." Snow fell in the area today, and winds of up to 45mph were thwarting the tugboat operator attempting to secure the ferry. "The shipwreck that we are towing is not anchored, and so it tends to move," says the owner of the tug company, which lost two workers in the effort yesterday.