JINDO, South Korea, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Rescue operations have been halted for three days on Monday due to worsened weather in one of South Korea's deadliest maritime disasters.
Koh Myung-seok, spokesman of the pan-government response center, told a press briefing that high seas watch was lifted but underwater rescue operations failed to be resumed as waves stayed as high as 1.5 meters overnight.
The ferry Sewol capsized and sank off the country's southwestern coast on April 16. On the 41st day into search, 288 people, mostly high school students, have been confirmed dead, with 16 others still missing.
No survivors have been reported since 172 people were saved from the ship and sea the day the vessel sank.
The rescue operations have been suspended for three days during the period of neap tide, or the least difference between high and low tides. The area is famed for the country's second-fastest tidal currents.
During the three-day period, winds were blowing fast and waves were high.
Koh said weather conditions were improving near the scene, adding more than 110 divers will resume underwater search operations when the tidal currents became slower.