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[Ferry Disaster] Strong wave, wind hinder rescue operation

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Published : 2014-04-17 11:53
Updated : 2014-04-18 14:48

(Yonhap)
Hundreds of divers on Thursday strived to find some 287 people missing from Wednesday’s ferry sinking, but bad weather conditions presented an overwhelming challenge as the death toll climbed to nine.

A joint rescue team consisting of government and civilian divers resumed the search and rescue operations for passengers on the sunken ferry Sewol. But rain coupled with winds of up to 5 meters per second impeded their work.

The low temperature of 14.4 Celsius -- up two degrees from the day before -- was good news for the missing people presumed to be confined in the ship, but the wind prevented smaller boats from approaching the vessel.

Diving operations were cut short to minutes due to the poor visibility and strong waves.

Since resuming work at 7:00 a.m., the Coast Guard recovered three bodies from the area, bringing the death toll to nine.

As of 11:40 a.m., 179 passengers out of 475 who were aboard the ferry had been rescued and 287 remain unaccounted for.

The ferry, operated by Chonghaejin Marine Co., began to sink at 8:55 a.m. on Wednesday, some 20 kilometers off the coast of Jindo Island, South Jeolla Province. It was heading to Jejudo Island from Incheon, and carrying 325 students from Danwon High School in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province.

By Yoon Min-sik (minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)

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