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Divers remove bodies from ferry
19 Apr 2014 22:10
Divers have removed the first bodies from the South Korean ferry that capsized nearly four days ago with 476 people on board, the coastguard has said.
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"Divers broke through the window of a passenger cabin just before midnight and pulled out three bodies," a coastguard official told AFP.
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All three were wearing lifejackets, the official said, adding that two were male but the gender of the third was not immediately confirmed.
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The official said they were the same three bodies that had been spotted, but not retrieved, during an earlier dive.
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Rescue teams planned to continue dive missions throughout the night to the ferry which capsized on Wednesday morning, he said.
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The confirmed death toll from the disaster now stands at 36 with 266 people still unaccounted for.
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Meanwhile the arrested captain of the ferry said he had delayed evacuating the ship because of the sea conditions and the absence of rescue ships.
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Lee Joon-Seok and two of his crew were taken into police custody in the early hours of this morning, charged with negligence and failing to secure the safety of passengers in violation of maritime law.
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During his police arraignment, Mr Joon-Seok was asked by TV reporters why passengers had been ordered to remain in their seats and cabins for more than 40 minutes after the ferry first sent a distress signal just before 9am on Wednesday.
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"At the time a rescue ship had not arrived. There were also no fishing boats around there for rescues or other ships to help," he said.
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