JINDO, South Korea: Death toll from a sunken South Korean ferry rose to 181 on Friday morning as divers kept searching bodies, or possible survivors, inside the submerged vessel.
On the tenth day since the ferry carrying 476 people capsized off the country’s southwestern coast on April 16, seven more bodies were recovered from the ship overnight, raising the death toll to 181, with 121 still missing. The number of rescued has been unchanged at 174 since the first day of the deadly incident.
Rescue operations were hampered Thursday as tidal currents became faster than expected. Weather forecast said the currents in the area would slow down for four days through Thursday before turning faster from Friday. It was forecast to rain from Saturday night.
Only 15 bodies were retrieved Thursday, much lower than 38 bodies discovered Wednesday. Divers recovered 36 people on Tuesday and 28 others on Monday.
Hundreds of divers resumed entering the ship at around 4:00 a.m. local time to search passenger cabins on the third and fourth floors of the five-story vessel where many passengers, two thirds of whom were high school students, have been believed to be trapped.
The 476 passengers included 325 Danwon High School students and 14 teachers. With hopes fading for possible survivors as the death toll continued to grow, the high school in Ansan, a city south of Seoul, established an altar in a gymnasium to mourn the death of the young students. PNA