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Ferry disaster: Search operation slowed down Updated: 2014-04-26 18:30:54 KST

Ferry disaster: Search operation slowed down
Search operations are now very late into the eleventh day at the accident site.
The pace of recovering bodies from the ferry has slowed as the authorities and divers struggle amid difficult weather conditions and powerful currents.
For the latest, we are going to connect to our Song Ji-sun , at Paengmok-hang Harbor - the nearest point of land to where the ferry went down.

Mark. It was a slow day here in terms of search and recovery.
With the wind, tide and waves getting stronger this Saturday rescuers can only get into the water at certain times when the current weakens a little -- and the next time window opens after midnight.
Two female students of Danwon High School were recovered earlier in the day raising the confirmed death toll to 1-hundred-87, with 1-hundred-15 still unaccounted for.
Divers are focusing their search on the fourth floor of the ferry as this is where the cabins of most the high school students were located.
But it's tougher to recover bodies compared to previous days - one, because of the strong currents expected to get stronger over the weekend and two, because of debris within the ferry like broken furniture and cargo.
The divers are now expanding their search areas on the left side of the ferry which is now laying on the seabed further reducing the amount of time they can spend underwater as it's more than 40-meters below surface. Considering the time needed to decompress on the way back to the surface with higher pressure in the deeper water, they can only search for a maximum of ten minutes inside the ferry.

Everyone was hoping the bodies of the victims would have been recovered quicker as new equipment was to be deployed but we hear that didn't happen.

That's correct. A diving bell, a chamber that can be used as a base and transportation of divers underwater, arrived at the accident site Friday afternoon but could not be deployed due to poor conditions and was returned earlier today.
The equipment was expected to help boost the number of divers taking part in search operations, and enable them to stay underwater longer without having to come up to surface too often.
Employing the new equipment was part of the parents' requests to spped up search efforts but it's unclear when the diving bell might be deployed as the conditions are expected to worsen over the next few days.

"All marine and navy divers must pull out of the water to install guidelines for the diving bell, but it's hard to do so as they are already operating on an around the clock schedule. The equipment can be deployed whenever the conditions improve, and when private and military divers coordinate their operation schedules."

More civilian divers have also been brought back in as the parents requested earlier.
But at this moment, neither the military or private divers are able to continue the operation due to the high tide and strong currents.
To give you an idea, the current is moving at more than 2-meters per second. That means diver working underwater can drift more than a hundred fifty meters in just a minute.
This has also raised worries bodies might have flown out of the sunken ferry.
Because of this authorities have increased the number of boats searching the waters and also expanded the radius by 60-kilometers.
This was Song Ji-sun reporting live from Paengmok-hang Harbor in Jindo.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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