South Korea ferry toll reaches 260 as divers find 12 more bodies

The death toll from the ferry sinking disaster was confirmed at a higher mark of 259 with divers retrieving 11 more bodies from the sunken ship on Monday. reports said.

By Supriya Jha | Updated: May 05, 2014, 19:36 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Seoul: The death toll from the ferry sinking disaster was confirmed at a higher mark of 260 with divers retrieving 12 more bodies from the sunken ship on Monday. reports said.

It has been 19 days since the ferry bound for the resort island of Jeju sank off Jindo island with 476 passengers on board and still the divers continue to look for bodies as 42 remain unaccounted for.

11 more bodies were retrieved from the fourth deck of the sunken ferry Sewol, said a CNN report citing South Korea`s Government Rescue Headquarters.

Divers continue to fight tough weather conditions to find more bodies as they are yet to search three more compartments where people are expected to have been trapped.

Reportedly, nets have been placed around the sunken ferry so that he bodies do not drift away into the seas.

According to Yonhap news agency, divers have finished an initial search of 61 compartments. Ferry Sewol is said to have 111 compartments, out of which people are likely expected in 64.

Once the divers are done scouring through the compartments, they would search the public spaces like lobbies, staircases, bathrooms, etc.

Officials said that the efforts to lift the ferry would begin only when all the missing bodies are retrieved. The rescue work will enter the cargo compartments at first and second decks in search for the bodies after May 15.

Meanwhile, President Park Geun-hye yesterday visited the families of the victims and owned “indefinite responsibility” for the disaster and its mishandling.
The doomed ferry`s captain and 14 of its crew are under arrest. Also three officials from ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co were arrested on charges of overloading the ferry beyond its capacity.

Ferry Sewol carrying 476 people sank off Jindo Island while moving from Incheon port to Jeju Island. Of 476 passengers, majority were the students and teachers from the same high school.