Georgian priest found dead after Italy ferry fire

Priest Ilia Kartozia was identified by the Georgian lady from his flock., 30 Dec 2014 - 20:30, Tbilisi,Georgia

UPDATED 8.30 pm: Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms that dead body found today in the Adriatic Sea was identified as the priest Ilia Kartozia, the Head of a Monastery in Mtskheta.

"He was identified by the Georgian lady in Bari, Italy by the photo sent from the military ship, where the body was moved after finding,” said the Head of Ministry’s Council Department Giorgi Tabatadze.

The body will be transported to the city of Brindisi, Italy for the next examination.

Priest Ilia Kartozia left for Italy to make a pilgrimage three days ago together with eight Georgians from his flock as the Georgian Public Broadcaster reported.

EARLIER 3.48 pm: All Georgian citizens except the Priest Ilia Kartozia have been found on the burning ferry near the Greek island of Corfu in the Adriatic Sea.

According to another Georgian priest, archimandrite Seraphim, the Italian media published a list of the survivors, which included the name of Ilia Karotizia, but this was unconfirmed information.

"This is the only information we have. Otherwise we are in absolute vacuum and no one contacts us,” he said.

Priest Ilia Kartozia, who is the Head of a Monastery in Mtskheta, was traveling to a Monastery in the city of Bari with several attendants.

In total, nine Georgian citizens were aboard the burning ship, including one pregnant woman and one child. Both of them were transported to the hospital in the city of Bari, Italy.

The other six rescued citizens of Georgia feel well and are now in the hotel in the city of Bari, Italy.

Meanwhile, the Italian and international rescuers still continue search efforts after the evacuation from the ferry has ended, as the number of missing people could not be determined yet. In total, ten people were reported to be dead from the accident.

The ferry company operating the journey from the Greek city of Patras to Ancona in Italy said a total of 478 people had been on the ship when it left.

Italian Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said that only 427 had been accounted for so far, but added that it was the total number of passengers on the ship was not verified.

The Italian-flagged Normand Atlantic was caught on fire and started to list on side yesterday early in the morning.