Friday, August 22, 2014   

Death toll in Korea ferry disaster over 100
(04-22 10:49)

The confirmed death toll from South Korea's ferry disaster crossed 100 Tuesday, as dive teams, under growing pressure from bereaved relatives, accelerated the grim task of recovering hundreds more bodies from the submerged vessel.
Improved weather conditions and calm seas spurred their efforts, but underwater visibility was still very poor, requiring divers to grope their way blindly though the corridors and cabins of the ferry that capsized and sank last Wednesday.
Nearly one week into the rescue and recovery effort of one of South Korea's worst peacetime disasters, close to 200 of the 476 people who were aboard the 6,825-tonne Sewol -- most of them schoolchildren -- are still unaccounted for.
The official toll provided by the coastguard Tuesday morning stood at 104, with 198 still missing.
The distraught victims' families gathered in the morning at the harbour of Jindo island -- not far from the disaster site -- awaiting the increasingly frequent arrival of boats bearing the most recently recovered bodies.
In the initial days after the Sewol went down, the relatives' anger was focused on the pace of the rescue effort.
With all hope of finding any survivors essentially extinguished, this has turned to growing impatience with the effort to locate and retrieve the bodies of those trapped. --AFP   
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