JINDO, South Korea (AP) — Divers on Monday renewed their search for more than 100 bodies still trapped in a sunken ferry after weekend efforts were hindered by bad weather, strong currents and floating debris clogging the ship’s rooms. Investigators, meanwhile, expanded a probe into how coast guard and other rescuers responded after learning the ferry was sinking.
Divers found only one body Sunday after a week that saw an increasing number of corpses pulled from the ship as divers made their way through its labyrinth of cabins, lounges and halls. The number of dead from the April 16 sinking is 188, with 114 people believed missing, though a government emergency task force has said the ship’s passengers list could be inaccurate. Only 174 people survived, including 22 of the 29 crew members.
Senior coast guard officer Kim Su-hyeon said that most of the remaining missing passengers are believed to be in 64 of the ship’s 111 rooms. Divers have entered 36 of those 64 rooms, coast guard officers said, but may need to go back into some because floating debris made it difficult for divers to be sure that there are no more dead bodies.
Ko Myung-seok, an official with the emergency task force, said Monday that 92 divers were searching the ferry. He also said that the government was making plans to salvage the ferry once search efforts end but that details wouldn’t be available until officials talk with families of the victims.
On Sunday, South Korea’s prime minister resigned over the government’s handling of the sinking, blaming “deep-rooted evils” in society for the tragedy.
South Korean executive power is largely concentrated in the president, so Chung Hong-won’s resignation appears to be symbolic. Presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook said President Park Geun-hye would accept the resignation, but did not say when Chung would leave office.