How Long Will Sewol Search Efforts Continue?

A diving bell is loaded onto a barge to be used in search efforts in the sunken ferry Sewol in Jindo, South Jeolla Province on April 25. /News 1 A diving bell is loaded onto a barge to be used in search efforts in the sunken ferry Sewol in Jindo, South Jeolla Province on April 25. /News 1

Search efforts continued on the sunken ferry Sewol on Wednesday focusing on 65 of the 111 cabins that are the most likely to contain passengers. Some 44 of the 65 cabins have been searched so far since the tragic accident off the southwest coast on April 16.

Most of the remaining cabins that divers have been unable to get near are located on the left side of the ferry that lies on the sea floor.

So far 103 bodies have been found on the right side of the ferry and only nine on the left side. Another 59 bodies were recovered in the center of the ship. Some 90 passengers who are still missing are believed to be in the cabins or passageways on the left side.

Among those still missing, 75 are students from Danwon High School in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province. Some 325 students boarded the Sewol to go on a school trip to Jeju Island, and only 75 survived. They were mainly housed on the fourth floor of the ferry.

Divers searched through all 16 cabins on the fourth floor on the right side and recovered 77 bodies. But only four rooms on the left side of the ship have been searched, leading to the discovery of nine bodies.

In six out of 13 cabins in the central portion of the fourth floor searched, 40 bodies were found.

Since the ferry lies on its left side up to 47 m below the surface of the ocean, it is impossible to get through the windows.

The Korea Coast Guard plans to search cabins that are accessible first and move on to other cabins and public areas. The search is likely to continue until the middle of May.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 01, 2014 11:35 KST