Turkish passenger aboard Norman Atlantic called family from lifeboat, not heard from since
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
The car ferry Norman Atlantic is seen on its way to Brindisi harbor, after a fire in the waters off Greece. REUTERS PhotoA missing Turkish passenger aboard the ferry in the Adriatic Sea that burnt down called his family in Turkey, saying he was on one of the lifeboats, but has not been heard from since.
Hakan Akkaya, a Turkish citizen who remains missing from the ferry disaster that took place in the Adriatic Sea on Dec. 28, 2014, called his family and said he was on a lifeboat, Doğan News Agency reported diplomatic sources as saying. The sources added that no news from Akkaya had been heard since then.
Meanwhile, four more maritime officials were put under formal investigation Jan. 2 as a charred ferry was towed into the Italian port of Brindisi and authorities prepared to search it for more possible dead, as reported by the Associated Press.
The blaze that broke out Dec. 28 and torched the Norman Atlantic ferry has killed at least 13 people, including one Turkish citizen.
Havise Savaş, 50, was among the 13 people confirmed killed in the ferry disaster, as officials warned the discovery of stowaways onboard meant the actual death toll could be far higher. Officials guessed that Savaş jumped into the sea in panic when the fire broke out.
Two Albanian seamen were also among the 13 people confirmed killed, according to Agence France-Presse.
Italy says 477 people were rescued, most by helicopters that took survivors from the top deck in gale-force winds and carried them to nearby boats.
The investigation into the disaster widened on Jan. 2. In addition to the ship’s captain and the head of the company that built the ferry – both Italians – the prosecutor’s office in Bari put two other crew members and two representatives of the Greek ferry line Anek, which rented the Norman Atlantic, under investigation, Italian news agency ANSA reported.
Towing the ferry overnight across the choppy seas of the Adriatic took 17 hours.
Tugboat company owner Giuseppe Barretta told the Associated Press in Brindisi that firefighters and a prosecutor will be the first to go aboard later Jan. 2 to search it in case there are any bodies onboard, as well as begin inspections for what caused the fire.
Prosecutors fear unregistered migrants were smuggled aboard in trucks and might have perished in the flames and smoke.