South Korea Ferry Death Toll Rises to 52
The official death toll from Wednesday's ferry crash in South Korea rose by Sunday to 52, according to authorities. All of the newly marked deaths were recorded by divers, who have begun recovering the first bodies found within the ferry itself. Of 476 original passengers, 339 were students and teachers on a trip with their high school. 250 passengers are still unaccounted for.
Search parties executed dozens of search dives Saturday in an effort to recover as many of the missing as possible, although rainy conditions in the area threatened the dives. The weather also caused strong currents and poor visibility, preventing divers from easily accessing the inside of the boat. With just minutes left in the day, the South Korean government said in a statement, "At 11:48 p.m. (1448 GMT) the joint rescue team broke a glass window and succeeded in getting inside the vessel."
The boat's operating company reportedly had problems in the past, including one vessel that collided with a fishing boat just weeks before the deadly ferry capsizing (no one in that crash was injured). The ferry's captain was arrested early Saturday, along with two of his subordinates. Their detention has been extended by ten days as authorities continue to investigate the cause of the capsizing. But that is the only progress authorities have made, as no further survivors have yet been found. One more victim was also claimed early Sunday: a sailor working with the rescue operation died of a head injury sustained Wednesday, the South Korean navy announced.