JINDO, South Korea, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Death toll in South Korea's ferry sinking disaster continued to rise to 171 on Thursday, but those recovered from the sunken ferry grew at a relatively slower pace as search operations were hampered by the unexpectedly swift currents.
The ninth day into search, 12 more bodies were retrieved from the submerged vessel Wednesday, raising the total death toll to 171. The number of missing was 131, with those rescued remaining fixed at 174.
On Wednesday alone, 38 bodies were discovered from the submerged vessel, with 36 people found Tuesday and 28 others retrieved on Monday.
Rescue operations were suspended for about six hours in the afternoon as tidal currents near the sunken vessel became faster than expected.
Some 40 family members of the victims visited the office of the government-wide disaster response headquarters at around 1 p.m. to protest against the sluggish rescue operations.
Weather forecast showed that tidal currents near Jindo Island, where the 6,825-ton ferry Sewol capsized and sank on April 16, would become slower for four days from Monday.
Divers were known to have begun plunging into the waters at about 3 p.m. to enter the vessel and search bodies, or possible survivors, believed to be trapped in passenger cabins on the third and fourth floors of the five-story ship.
Divers became fatigued due to the protracted underwater operations. One navy diver got decompression sickness while diving for a long time.
Around 700 coast guard, navy, special forces, firefighting and private divers were conducting search operations in the tough and murky waters, the coast guard said.
S.Korean prosecutors raid sunken ferry's owner house, offices
SEOUL, April 23 (Xinhua) -- South Korean prosecutors on Wednesday raided the house of the sunken ferry's owner house and affiliates of the ship's operator for alleged corruption and wrongdoings in running the vessel.
A special prosecutor team, which has been investigating into alleged illegalities of the ship's operator, raided home of the ship's beneficial owner, known as Yoo Byung-eon, local media reported. Full story
President Park likens what sunken ferry's captain did as murder
SEOUL, April 21 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Park Geun- hye likened what captain and some crew members of the sunken ferry did as murder on Monday, vowing to force those responsible to shoulder legal responsibilities regardless of ranks.
"What captain and some crew members did was like an act of murder that cannot be acceptable and permissible from a common-sense standpoint,"Park said during a meeting with senior secretaries. Full story
Communications between sunken S.Korean ferry, traffic center disclosed
JINDO, South Korea, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Last-minute communications between a sunken South Korean ferry and a vessel traffic center were disclosed Sunday by the pan-government emergency management headquarters. Full story