World / Asia-Pacific

Death toll rises to 213 in S Korean ferry sinking disaster

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-05-01 14:46

JINDO, South Korea -- Death toll rose Thursday to 213 in a South Korean ferry disaster where the 6,825-ton passenger ship capsized and sank off the country's southwestern coast.

As of Thursday afternoon, 213 people have been confirmed dead, leaving 89 others still missing. There has been no rescue reported since 174 people were saved from sea and the ship on April 16 when the ferry was upturned.

The 16th day into search on Thursday, only one more body was recovered from the submerged ship earlier in the day as search operations were hampered by swift currents and murky waters.

From 3 p.m. local time, divers resumed search for bodies trapped inside as tidal currents became slower starting from the cited period.

Divers completed search operations for 44 passenger cabins of the total 64 on the third and fourth floors of the five-story vessel. The cabins were believed to have accommodated most of the remaining unaccounted for.

Search and rescue operations have been hampered by rapid currents and floating objects. Waters near the scene are famous for the country's second-fastest currents.

As the ferry tilted underwater to the port side at some 90 degrees to the surface, a lump of objects were flocking to the left side. Search was wrapped up for the right and the middle sides of the ship.

A total of 47 divers were conducting search operations, while 198 rescue ships and 37 airplanes were deployed to help search possible bodies swept far away from the scene. One body was found in waters around 2 km away from the scene.

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