JINDO, South Korea, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Search operations halted on Sunday for the missing passengers in the sunken South Korean ferry as weather conditions became worse amid high wave and strong wind.
The pan-government accident response center said that rescue ships with a size of less than 500 tons pulled out from the submerged ferry Sewol, which capsized and sank off the country's southwestern coast on April 16.
Divers suspended underwater search operations inside the ship, and only 19 large-sized ships of more than 1,000 tons were scouring the waters in the area outside the sunken ferry.
A watch of high sea and strong wind was issued at 9 a.m. local time near the scene, with waves being as high as 2-2.5 meters and winds blowing at the speed of 12-14 meters per second.
The high sea watch was expected to be lifted on Monday morning.
The 26th day into search on Sunday, 275 people have been confirmed dead, and 29 others still remain missing. No survivors have been reported since 172 people were saved from the ship and sea on April 16.
The search and rescue team was discussing how to get floating obstacles out of the passage on the fourth floor of the five-story vessel where dividers of passenger cabins were at risk of collapsing amid the prolonged exposure to the salt water.