Friday, December 19, 2014   

SKorea ferry toll hits 146
(04-23 12:01)

The grim work of recovering bodies from the submerged South Korea ferry proceeded rapidly Wednesday, with the official death toll reaching 146, though a government official said divers must now rip through cabin walls to retrieve more victims.
The victims are overwhelmingly students of a single high school in Ansan, near Seoul. More than three-quarters of the 323 students are dead or missing, while nearly two-thirds of the other 153 people on board the ferry Sewol when it sank one week ago survived.
Even with more than 150 people still missing, the funeral halls in Ansan are already full, Oh Sang-yoon of the government-wide emergency task force center said in a statement. He said the center "is taking measures to accommodate additional bodies by placing mortuary refrigerators at the funeral halls in Ansan,'' and directing mourning families to funeral homes in nearby cities.
On Jindo island, where bodies recovered from the ferry are taken, descriptions of the dead are read over a loudspeaker. Relatives rush over to the main notice board and peered at details added by an official.
Some relatives cry out and run from the tent. Others stand red-eyed and shell-shocked.
The number of corpses recovered has risen sharply since the weekend, when divers battling strong currents and low visibility were finally able to enter the submerged vessel. But task force spokesman Koh Myung-seok the work is becoming more difficult, and divers must now break through cabin walls to retrieve more bodies. --AP   
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