Robot sub to join search
09/04/2007 20:49 - (SA)
Athens, Greece - Greek rescuers will deploy a robot submarine to search for the bodies of two French tourists believed to have drowned when a cruise ship sunk off a resort island last week.
The ship's captain has blamed Thursday's accident on sea currents that swept the Sea Diamond onto a charted reef, tearing a hole in the ship's hull. Nearly 1 600 people were rescued before the vessel sank.
An oceanographic vessel due at Santorini early on Tuesday will deploy the unmanned sub to take footage of the wreck, looking for the missing passengers and the ship's voyage data recorder, the Merchant Marine Ministry said on Monday.
"Only the robot submarine can now help locate the missing people, through its cameras," said a ministry spokesperson, speaking on customary condition of anonymity. "That is the basic reason for the mission."
Jean-Christophe Allain, 45, and his 16-year-old daughter, Maud, are believed to have been trapped in a flooded lower cabin. The missing man's wife told authorities she had narrowly escaped from the cabin.
The rest of the passengers, most of them Americans, reached safety after scrambling onto lifeboats, crossing narrow gangways and climbing down rope ladders.
The 21-year-old Sea Diamond sunk some 15 hours later, causing an oil slick that experts fought to clean up on Monday.