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South Korea Divers Find Body in Sunken Ferry

  • VOA News

An unidentified family member of passengers aboard the sunken ferry Sewol caries as she demands maximum punishment to be sentenced on the crew members of the ferry during their trial at Gwangju District Court in Gwangju, South Korea, Oct. 27, 2014.

An unidentified family member of passengers aboard the sunken ferry Sewol caries as she demands maximum punishment to be sentenced on the crew members of the ferry during their trial at Gwangju District Court in Gwangju, South Korea, Oct. 27, 2014.

South Korean divers found a body, the first in three months, inside the sunken Sewol ferry on Tuesday, officials said.

The official death toll rises to 295, with nine victims still missing. The Sewol sank on April 16 near the island of Jindo.

The last body found in the upturned ship was on July 18. Since then, divers have done near-daily searches of the ship, partly in response to urgings from family members of the missing.

A government task force said in a statement that the body was found in a women’s bathroom on the ship. The body was being recovered on Tuesday. Officials said it would then be tested to identify the victim.

Relatives of those still unaccounted for have remained in Jindo for the past six months, despite warnings that their loved ones may have been washed out to sea.

Students aboard

Of the 476 people aboard the Sewol when it capsized, 325 were high school students on a school trip to a resort island. Only 75 students survived.

The sinking, one of South Korea's deadliest disasters in decades, caused nationwide grief and fury, with authorities blaming overloading of cargo, improper storage, untimely rescue efforts and other negligence for the incident.

On Monday, South Korean prosecutors demanded the death penalty for the ferry's captain and life sentences for three other key crew members, blaming their negligence and abandonment of passengers for the massive loss of life.

Prosecutors asked for up to 30 years of prison terms for eleven other crew members. A local district court is to issue verdicts on the 15 crew members in November.

Some material for this report came from AP and AFP.

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