Rescue workers on Tuesday decided to cut off part of the hull of the ferry that sank off the southwest coast on April 16 to retrieve the remaining bodies.
Korea Coast Guard chief Kim Suk-kyun told reporters, "We decided to cut off part of the outer layer of the starboard side hull of the stern" where several cabins are located.
The families of the 16 passengers who remain missing agreed to the proposal provided that measures are taken to prevent the bodies from being washed away.
There is no other way for divers to access the cabins where many students were accommodated. Wall panels are collapsing as the structure weakens and furnishings and appliances of various kinds are clogging up the passageways, a spokesman said.
The team will cut an exit hole and then remove the obstructions to create a new passageway.