Fierce Heat on Charred Greek Ferry Slows Search for Bodies

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Fierce Heat on Charred Greek Ferry Slows Search for Bodies

A firefighter sprays water on the Norman Atlantic ferry. (Associated Press)

Brindisi, Italy:  Italian firefighters and forensic experts searching for bodies inside a fire-damaged ferry are braving fierce heat and thick, black smoke for the third straight day.

Brindisi Coast Guard Captain Mario Valente said today that searchers are trying to reach lower decks near the Norman Atlantic ferry's car deck, where a pre-dawn blaze began on December 28 while the ferry sailed from Greece toward Italy.

The fire has claimed at least 11 lives. Greece says as many as 19 people might be unaccounted for; Italy says that figure might be higher. There are fears some drivers might have been sleeping in their trucks when the blaze began or that illegal migrants might have stowed away inside vehicles.

Since the on-board search began on Saturday, high temperatures have thwarted entry into the vehicle deck.

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