The search resumed on Wednesday for 50 illegal immigrants still missing from the ship which sank off Turkey's Mediterranean coast, with hopes fading for finding any more survivors, authorities said.
Local officials were unable to confirm a report by Anatolia news agency that divers had begun pulling out bodies from the sunken front part and cargo hold of the Georgian freighter, where the missing 50 are believed trapped.
"The search is continuing, but we do not know of any bodies being found yet," a coast guard, who declined to be named, told AFP.
A team of 20 divers were working at the scene of the disaster, off the resort town of Kemer, where the ship, packed with illegal immigrants, split in two after crashing into a reef in a heavy storm early Monday.
A navy frigate and a helicopter were also combing the area.
Eight bodies had been recovered so far, while rescuers also picked up mutilated body parts from the sea Tuesday, dampening hopes of finding any survivors.
Thirty-two other people were rescued Monday, including the captain and six crewmen, all of them Greek.
Some 30 hours after the disaster, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi was plucked out of the sea off Kemer Tuesday after being spotted swimming in rough waters by a helicopter.
The ship, which should have been carrying only a 10-man crew, had an estimated 80 illegal immigrants on board, mostly from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to accounts from survivors.
A helicopter was expected to fly over nearby bays Wednesday where local fishermen reported having seen three men praying on the beech, Anatolia said.
Turkey is one of the main routes for Asian and African illegal immigrants seeking a better life in Europe. Turkish security forces intercept several thousand would-be immigrants every year -- ANKARA (AFP)
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