MOKPO, South Korea – After more than three days of frustration and failure, divers today finally found a way into a submerged ferry off South Korea’s southern shore, discovering more than a dozen bodies inside the ship and pushing the confirmed death toll to 50, officials said Sunday.
More than 250 people are still missing, most of them high school students on a holiday trip, and anguished families are furious with the pace of rescue efforts. Divers had previously failed to enter the ferry, officials said, because of extremely strong currents and bad visibility due to foul weather. They have yet to find any survivors in the ship.
The penetration by divers into the ferry follows the arrest of the captain on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into custody, including a rookie third mate who a prosecutor said was steering in challenging waters unfamiliar to her when the accident occurred.
Beginning late Saturday, when divers broke a window, and continuing into today, multiple teams of divers have found various routes into the ferry, discovering bodies in different spots, coast guard official Koh Myung-seok said at a briefing. Thirteen bodies had been found in the ship, and three others were found floating outside, coast guard official Kim Jin-cheol said.