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South Korean sunken ferry death toll increases to 242

 
 
 
 
 
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South Korean rescue teams and divers still struggle to gain access to blocked cabins of the ferry that capsized three weeks ago.

Six more bodies were recovered early Sunday, 18 days after the 6,825-ton passenger ferry, Sewol, capsized and sank with 476 people on board while 60 passengers are still unaccounted for.

So far, 242 bodies have been recovered from the submersed vessel.

One body was reportedly retrieved on Friday by a fishing vessel four kilometers away from the recovery site, and another was found nearly two kilometers away on Wednesday, fueling fears that the remains of some victims could never be recovered.

The search has been hampered by fast currents and high waves as divers have been working in difficult and occasionally hazardous conditions.

The divers have to grope their way down guiding ropes to the sunken ship, struggling through narrow passageways and rooms littered with floating debris in salty water.

Personal belongings and other items from the sunken ferry have been spotted much further away from the disaster site.

Bedding materials from the ship were found as far as 30 kilometers from the disaster site on Friday.

It is one of South Korea’s worst peacetime disasters, made all the more shocking by the loss of so many young lives.

Of those on board, 325 were students from the same high school in the city of Ansan, just south of the capital, Seoul.

The captain and 14 of his crew have been arrested.

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