On Wednesday evening, a SOS signal was received, with the crash occurring about 50 miles off the coast of Italy's southern region of Apulia on the border between Italian and Croatian maritime zones, the statement read. The rescuers found an empty life raft from the submerged vessel.
"As of the present moment, a search resulted in the extraction of four bodies, and detection of one more in the sea," the statement said.
The search for the ship crew, which was towing a pontoon in that area, involved military and civilian vessels, as well as aircraft, including from Croatia, according to the statement. Severe weather conditions hindered the search operation.