The Greek Merchant Marine Ministry has confirmed that four bodies, thought to be passengers on the stranded Norman Atlantic ferry, have been spotted in the Adriatic Sea.

A spokesman said that an Italian helicopter is trying to recover the bodies. If they are confirmed as passengers on the ship, it would take to five the death toll from the fire that broke out on the ferry early on Sunday.

An ongoing operation to airlift passengers from the Norman Atlantic has led to less than 100 people being left on board from the almost 500 that were on the ship when it left Patra headed for the port of Ancona in Italy.