JINDO, South Korea, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Corridors and passenger cabins of the sunken South Korean ferry, which capsized off the country's southwestern coast, were jammed with floating objects, hampering search for bodies trapped inside the hull amid fast currents and bad weather.
As of Saturday night, 187 people have been confirmed dead, and 115 others remained missing. No one has been found alive since 174 passengers and crew were rescued on April 16 when the ferry sank en route to the southern resort island of Jeju from western port of Inchon.
Two thirds of 476 people on board were students and teachers of the Danwon High School in Ansan, a city south of Seoul, who were on a field trip.
Only two more bodies were recovered Saturday as floating objects were crammed into corridors and cabins. "A variety of obstacles such as chairs, beds and tables are blocking corridors and spaces where divers are moving," said Koh Myung-seok, a coast guard official who briefs reporters on search operations.
The 6,825-ton ferry Sewol was totally submerged upside down. Divers searched all places accessible, including lounges and compartments on the starboard side and in the middle part of the ship.
South Korean navy captain Kim Jin-hwang told reporters that the port side was jammed with most objects, making search harder.
Divers broke open window or make hole in the wall to enter passenger cabins, where many bodies were believed to be trapped. Another daunting difficulty facing divers was rapid currents off Jindo Island.
Weather conditions worsened. It began to rain Saturday night in the area. According to weather forecast, wind will blow at a speed of 9-14 meters per second Sunday and waves will be as high as 1-3 meters.
Around 100 coast guard, navy and private divers mainly searched passenger cabins on the third and fourth floors of the five-storey vessel. Over 200 ships and 36 helicopters scoured the waters for floating bodies.
The U.S. Navy's salvage ship USS Safeguard will give a hand. U. S. Navy divers will join the search operations if needed.
Rescue experts from the United States, the Netherlands, Britain and Japan have been providing counseling.
JINDO, South Korea, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Death toll in the South Korea ferry sinking disaster continued to rise to 187 Saturday morning, but search operations slowed amid faster tidal currents and worse weather. Full story
JINDO, South Korea, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese embassy said Friday that rescuers recovered the body of a fourth Chinese passenger, identified as a high school girl, after South Korean ferry Sewol with 476 people aboard capsized and sank off Jindo Island on April 16.
A total of four Chinese nationals were on board the ill-fated ship en route from the western port city of Incheon to the southern resort island of Jeju. And the embassy has confirmed the death of the other three -- two men and a woman -- since search and rescue operation began nine days ago. Full story
JINDO, South Korea, April 23 (Xinhua) -- "Dad, the ferry is capsized." These were the last words a daughter spoke to her father in a cellphone call as the 6,825-ton ferry "Sewol" was listing.
A week later, when a Xinhua reporter saw the tan-skinned father, he was viewing a body, trying to identify whether it was his sole daughter. South Korea's Coast Guard later said the body was someone else based on a DNA test. Full story