A government official on Thursday hinted that rescuers may stop their increasingly fruitless search for the remaining victims of the April 16 ferry disaster.
Vice Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Kim Young-suk said, "We're reviewing it from a technical point of view, because it's possible to think of salvaging the ferry as an alternative to the search for the missing when search operations hit the limit."
"We can't just leave the ferry there once search operations end," he added.
This was the first time in the 141 days since the ferry sank that a senior government official has admitted the search may end before all bodies are found.
A total of 294 bodies have been found, 251 of them through the underwater search, but 10 people remain missing.
No bodies have been retrieved since July 18.