Rome: The death toll from a ferry fire in the Adriatic rose to 10 yesterday as the search for survivors went on into the night in seas off Albania.
It was unclear how many people had been on board and whether any were still missing, but the Italian navy kept up its search, with almost 40 people still officially unaccounted for.
As the search went on, survivors recounted the terrifying moments that the Norman Atlantic became engulfed by thick smoke in rough seas, forcing many into the chilly waters below.
Italian Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said that 427 people had been winched to safety by helicopter over the course of a 24-hour rescue operation carried out in an unusually fierce winter storm.
Thirty-eight people were unaccounted for, according to an updated list of passengers and crew from the Greek operator, but there were doubts over the manifest's accuracy.
Lupi said it was unclear if those unaccounted for could include no-shows at boarding or people who got off at a stopover on the Greek island of Igoumenitsa or whether there were errors on the passenger list.
"It is up to the departure port to match up their list and the people (rescued)," Lupi said.
"That is why we are continuing our (search) effort: we cannot know what the exact number was."
Greek Merchant Marine Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis acknowledged the list was "possibly inaccurate" and complained about poor communication with Italy.
"I strongly doubt that all the names on the list are real -- we have two persons with the same name, who turned out to be one person," the minister told Mega TV.
None of the statements from survivors have so far suggested the death toll is likely to climb sharply but an empty lifeboat washed up on the shores of Albania, in one possible sign of more bad news to come.