Five more bodies were recovered from a sunken ferry on Friday amid concerns that swift currents will hamper search operations and may have swept many bodies far away from the sinking site.
Since the ferry Sewol carrying 476 people capsized off South Korea's southwestern island of Jindo on April 16, a total of 226 people have been confirmed dead, mostly high school students on a field trip to the southern resort island of Jeju.
With 76 people still remaining missing, concerns have grown that the bodies of possible victims could be lost. Fueling such fears was the recovery of a body earlier in the day from waters about 4 kilometers from the accident site. Two days ago, one body was spotted some 2 kilometers away.
A total of 174 people, including most of its crew members, were rescued from the ill-fated boat on the day of the tragedy, but no one has been found alive since.
On Friday, Navy, Coast Guard and civilian divers were to focus their efforts on the left and central side of the fourth and fifth floors of the five-deck vessel, where the rescue workers have not explored much as the 6,825-ton capsized with the left side touching the bottom, according to a state response task force.
The shipwreck site has been affected by spring tides that bring strong currents, a source of concern that divers will not be able to pick up the pace in their operations.
Spring tides refer to tides in which the difference between high and low tide is the greatest. Currents are stronger by about 40 percent during spring tides compared with a period of neap tides when the difference is the least. (Yonhap)