Death toll rises to 226 from sunken S. Korean ferryUpdated: 2014-05-02 12:30:44 (KST)
We start with the latest on the Sewol-ho ferry disaster
It was another long and difficult night for the search and rescue teams at the accident site.
The confirmed death toll now stands at 2-hundred-twenty-six with 76 people, mostly teenagers, still unaccounted for some two-and-a-half weeks after the disaster.
For the latest on the search operation and the ongoing investigation, our Kim Hyun-bin joins us from the News Center,
Hyun-bin, let's first start with the search efforts
The number of passengers confirmed dead continues to creep up slowly with five additional bodies recovered this Friday morning.
The bodies of three male students were found in the lobby area on the fourth floor and one passenger was found on the third floor lobby. One female student was found four kilometers southeast of the accident site.
Officials had been hoping to speed up operations, but rapid tidal currents and bad weather as well as debris and poor visibility hampered the divers in their search.
Divers are currently searching open cabins but there are plans to forcibly open blocked sections using special equipment from the Navy and firefighters from this Sunday.
The blocked sections are where many of the passengers still missing are believed to be trapped. The divers expect they will have gained access to the remaining 64 cabins by the end of next week.
To speed up the search, officials tried again to dispatch a diving bell to help divers stay under water for longer, but it was withdrawn proving ineffective against the notoriously rapid currents around the accident site.
They've had nothing but problems with that diving bell it seems Hyun-bin, give us an update on the ongoing investigation into this tragedy. We hear prosecutors and police have requested arrest warrants against two officials from the ferry operator.
That's right authorities issued arrest warrants today for two officials from Chonghaejin Marine Company on charges of manslaughter.
Investigators are looking into the possibility that overloading and illegal renovation of the vessel may have played a role in its capsize and the two officials played a key role in these factors.
Investigators think containers loaded on the ferry were only tied down with rope, which caused the cargo to slide when the ship lost balance.
And what about the investigation into the owners of the ferry company and his closest associates?
More than 10 locations linked to Yoo Byung-eon , the owner of Chonghaejin Marine Company, have been raided.
The homes of Byun Ki-choon and Hwang Ho-eun , who ran the company were searched.
Prosecutors are also continuing to pile the pressure on Yoo's closest associates.
Yoo's son Yoo Hyeok-gi and Hankook Pharma chief Kim Hye-kyung, have been summoned for questioning today, but the Younger Yoo did not meet the deadline as he is in the United States.
The prosecution also requested arrest warrants for Song Kook-bin chief of Dapada Company, which is also owned by Yoo. Song is scheduled to appear for questioning in less than an hour.
The prosecution suspects Song was deeply involved in the embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars in irregular transactions involving the Yoo family.
This has been Kim Hyun-bin, reporting from the news center.
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