JINDO, South Korea, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Death toll rose to 288 Wednesday in the South Korean ferry tragedy as one more body was recovered from the sunken ship earlier in the day, the disaster response center said.
On the 36th day into search, 288 people have been confirmed dead, with 16 others missing. No survivors have been reported since 172 people were saved from the ship and sea on April 16 when the ferry Sewol capsized and sank off the southwestern island of Jindo.
Koh Myung-seok, spokesman of the pan-government accident response center, told a press briefing that a female body was retrieved from the submerged hull in the morning, saying that divers will continue to search passages and cabins on the third, fourth and fifth floors of the five-story vessel.
Koh said in the previous day that all coast guard officers will make all-out efforts to search those missing even as President Park Geun-hye declared her plan to disband the coast guard for its failure in the initial stage rescue.
The coast guard and government ministries have been under public criticism for the bungling of the initial rescue, which otherwise could have saved more passengers, mostly high school students.
More than 130 rescue ships and some 40 fishing boats were scouring waters near the scene to search possible bodies swept away from the submerged vessel.
S. Korean president apologizes for ferry sinking disaster
SEOUL, May 19 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye made an official apology once again for one of the country's deadliest maritime disaster on Monday, vowing a reform in officialdom and safety response system.
"As president responsible for the people's lives and safety, I sincerely apologize for the pains the people have suffered," Park said in her first televised statement to the nation. "The ultimate responsibility for failing to properly respond to this accident lies with me." Full story