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Death toll from April ferry sinking rises to 288

All Headlines 09:35 May 21, 2014

sunken ferry-search

Rescue work

Death toll from April ferry sinking rises to 288

JINDO, South Korea, May 21 (Yonhap) -- The death toll from last month's deadly ferry sinking rose to 288 on Wednesday as divers recovered one more body from the submerged hull during an early morning search, officials said.

A female body was retrieved from the sunken ferry Sewol, lowering the number of those still missing from the maritime accident to 16, according to officials of the government accident settlement team in charge of the search efforts.

The 6,825-ton ferry carrying an estimated 476 people, mostly high school students, capsized and sank off the southwestern island of Jindo on April 16, in one of South Korea's worst maritime disasters.

Divers plan to wait for low tide to resume their search operation for the 16 missing people later in the day, they said, adding that a total of 123 military, Coast Guard and civilian divers are on standby for the rescue mission.

Wednesday's search will be focused on dining and lounge areas of the upturned ship's third, fourth and fifth decks.

The divers, however, may face difficulty accessing compartments on the fifth deck as some decaying partitions have begun to fall apart, according to the officials.

Underwater cranes will be used to help the divers gain access to the inside of the fifth deck, they noted.

Slightly misty weather was reported near the waters off Jindo, with waves forecast to reach about 0.6 meter in the day, according to the weather service.


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