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LAMPEDUSA, Italy – Italian divers headed into the hold of a sunken smugglers' boat lying on the ocean floor Monday, hoping to find more bodies from a horrific shipwreck.
Only 155 people survived Thursday's sinking off the Italian island of Lampedusa, one of the worst such migrant disasters in the Mediterranean.
Teams of divers recovered 83 bodies on Sunday, bringing the official death toll to 194. But more bodies are believed trapped in the hull of the 59-foot boat, which is resting 154 feet below the surface.
More than 150 people remain missing. Italian Coast Guard Capt. Filippo Marini estimated it would take two more days to complete the search and recovery mission.
"Bodies have been recovered from outside the ship and from the ship's cabin. Now we have to get inside the hold," Marini said Monday.
The ship had arrived within sight of Lampedusa, a tiny island that is Italy's southernmost point, after two days of sailing from Libya. A signal fire panicked the migrants, causing them to rush to one side of the boat. As it capsized, hundreds of people, many of whom could not swim, were thrown into the sea.
Tens of thousands of migrants from African and the Middle East try to cross the Mediterranean Sea each year, seeking a better life in Europe. Hundreds die in the process.