First let's get the latest on the search-and-rescue operation nearby the sunken ferry with our Laah Hyun-kyung at the News Center.
Hyun-kyung, the death toll now stands at 33.
More bodies are being recovered. But outside of the ferry, correct?
That's right. The latest body was found near the sunken ferry.
The Korea Coast Guard's West Regional Headquarters confirmed that at around 7:30 p.m., Korea time, a female body was found and recovered near the Sewol-ho ferry.
That came shortly after two female bodies were found near the ferry as well slightly before 6 p.m. in addition to another female body that was recovered about an hour earlier.
So as of now, the number of people confirmed dead is at 33, with 2-hundred-69 still missing.
Officials are reportedly in the process of identifying the victims as family members of the missing passengers wait to see if the bodies are of their loved ones.
And tomorrow at noon, related government ministers will convene to come up with ways to support the efforts. What can we expect?
Officials will discuss possibly declaring the accident areas as special disaster zones. Prime Minister Chung Hong-won will preside over that ministerial-level meeting.
The areas being considered for special disaster zones are Ansan in the Gyeonggi-do province and Jindo in the Jeollanam-do province.
Ansan is the city where the high school of the students that made up a majority of the passengers aboard the ferry is located.
And Jindo, of course, is where the 68-hundred ton ferry capsized this past Wednesday.
Once the areas are declared as special disaster zones, government funds will be able to swiftly go into rescue, search and salvage efforts.
And we will keep our eyes on that. In the meantime, authorities took DNA samples from the families of those still missing earlier in the day.
Tell us why.
Yes, the samples were collected in advance so that officials can use them when needed -- for example, for matching against bodies that have been, and may be recovered from the sunken ferry in the future.
Authorities are estimating that it will take about two days to sequence the DNAs of some 3-hundred family members.
Back to you both.
Alright, thanks Hyun-kyung we'll check back in with you in a little bit for other updates.