ATHENS, Greece -- Greek rescuers on Wednesday discovered the body of a man inside the charred hulk of a ferry boat that caught fire last week en route from Greece to Italy, raising the death toll so far to two.
The Italian-flagged Euroferry Olympia was carrying at least 292 passengers and crew when it caught fire Friday three hours out of the northwestern Greek port of Igoumenitsa. A total of 278 people were safely evacuated at sea. Another three people who had been trapped were rescued later, the body of a Greek trucker was found Sunday and 10 passengers remain unaccounted for.
But it was too early to say whether the body found Wednesday in one of the lower vehicle holds where trucks were parked belonged to one of the passengers unaccounted for until it could be identified. One of the trapped men who were extracted from the ship had not been on the passenger list, and there were fears more undeclared travelers might have been on board.
The search resumed Wednesday after a delay of more than a day to tow the 183-meter (600 foot) vessel from the open sea off the island of Corfu to the harbor of Astakos on the mainland. This followed a request from the fire service to ensure the safety of rescuers operating amid high temperatures on the smoke-filled hulk.
A Greek prosecutor on Corfu has ordered an investigation into the cause of the fire. The Italian company that operated the ferry has said it started in a vehicle hold. The ship’s captain and two engineers were arrested last week but then released. Operations were set to continue Thursday.